Real Madrid edged away from Sevilla as they edged past Deportivo by the slimmest of margins with Raúl netting midway through the second half to claim victory.
The hosts dominated for periods, but left a lot to be desired as their supporters were clearly not happy with a display that was not convincing as they had hoped it would be.
In a game of limited chances, the goal was a slick move with Diarra receiving the ball on the angle of the area from a corner and his ball into the area was guided past the keeper by Raúl.
Madrid's captain signaled to his ear during the celebrations, but they all count and in registering his 213th league goal he became the top scorer currently playing in Spain.
Lassana Diarra lined up alongside Fernando Gago in a familiar looking midfield, but that meant that Wesley Sneijder was denied the chance to be the creative force that he can be.
On the other flank Arjen Robben was a bundle of energy as his upright gait and arm movements pushed forward in search of a goal that was to elude him throughout the contest.
Depor defended stoutly against a team that only threatened in patches and Gustavo Munúa had few saves to make, despite Madrid enjoying more possession than their hosts.
On a windy night in the Spanish capital the stadium was by no means full, but those that did attend will have been pleased that under Juande Ramos the defensive errors are being eradicated.
Only once in the second half was Iker Casillas called upon to keep his team in the game and when he was he pulled off an incredible save to deny Lafit after the Depor midfielder had moved past Gabriel Heinze.
Gonzalo Higuaín had a difficult game as he was frustrated by both Depor's attempts to stop him and his inability to test the keeper in a game that saw him receive little service.
After one particularly hefty challenge saw the referee wave play on, the Argentinian then looked to even the score by jumping over Manuel Pablo's challenge although that did not see hi win a free-kick either.
In midfield Rafael Van der Vaart entered the fray and looked lively while exchanging fouls with Antonio Tomás as the Depor man was elbowed in the mouth before the Madrid forward was kicked in response.
Riki and Fabio Cannavaro also enjoyed a duel when the former Madrid forward came on for the visitors and it was the Italian who came out on top as he prevented his opponent from testing Casillas.
Before Robben went close to earning a goal that would have capped a good evening for him in the closing minutes, another former Merengue saw his shot cannon off the crossbar as Filipe looked to beat the keeper from distance.
Royston Drenthe would have liked to have made more of an impression as he was jeered by sections of the crowd when entering the game in place of Raúl, but his slip and fall when racing down the flank did little to win his critics over.
Madrid remain 12 points behind Barcelona after the weekend's game, but Ramos has a week to prepare his team for the trip to Numancia while the Blaugrana are back in Copa del Rey duty in midweek.
--Lucas Brown, Goal.com