Real Madrid took a huge step towards winning La Liga by beating Real Betis courtesy of yet more Sergio Ramos heroics after Barcelona had lost to Deportivo La Coruna.
Zinedine Zidane's men were handed a huge opportunity by the Catalans' surprising defeat - perhaps a consequence of their draining Champions League epic against Paris Saint-Germain but looked as if they may fail to capitalise until Ramos' 81st-minute winner.
Elsewhere, Athletic Club put a major dent in Real Sociedad's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League by recording a 2-0 win at Anoeta that brings them within four points of the hosts. Here's how the table looks in full:
LA LIGA TABLE
|4||Atlético de Madrid||27||15||7||5||49||22||27||52|
|11||Celta de Vigo||26||10||5||11||39||45||-6||35|
|15||Deportivo de La Coruña||27||6||9||12||31||42||-11||27|
|19||Sporting de Gijón||27||4||6||17||28||56||-28||18|
LA LIGA SCORES
|Real Sociedad||0-2||Athletic Club|
|Deportivo La Coruna||2-1||Barcelona|
|Real Madrid||2-1||Real Betis|
MADRID ONE STEP CLOSER
Sergio Ramos grabbed the headlines again for Real Madrid and his goalscoring record as a defender is sensational, but this weekend was really about Los Blancos' superior depth compared to Barcelona - a running theme this season.
Simply put, Madrid have more players capable of making an impact on the scoresheet than Barca. Isco, James Rodriguez, Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata do not get into their best XI but have all made telling contributions at one point or another in 2016-17, enabling Zinedine Zidane to rotate his side and make substitutions with confidence.
It is quite a contrast; whereas Madrid actually have a better record without the complete 'BBC' trio starting, Barca look reliant on 'MSN'. Arda Turan, Denis Suarez, Paco Alcacer and Andre Gomes have struggled to make up for the absence of any one of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, or be impactful from the bench.
Coming off their Champions League ties in midweek, the options at Zidane's disposal were more valuable than ever. Now they have the chance to go five points clear at the top and at this stage of the season, that may prove an unassailable lead.