Luis Suarez was the matchwinner as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-1 in El Clasico to go four points clear of their rivals at the top of the Spanish La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 31st goal of the campaign to move one behind Lionel Messi at the top of the scorers chart, equalising after Jeremy Mathieu’s headed the opener for Barca to leave it 1-1 at half time.
But Suarez made his mark yet again as he took a single touch from a long ball and stroked past Iker Casillas 11 minutes into the second half at the Nou Camp.
It was a sixth goal in seven games for the Uruguayan, who has formed a deadly trinity with Neymar and Messi during Barca’s re-emergence this year.
Real and their star player, meanwhile, have slipped up since their early-season dominance, with Ronaldo having been 12 goals ahead of Messi as recently as December.
A long, raking free kick on the left from Messi after 19 minutes was met perfectly by French defender Mathieu, who gave Casillas no chance from close range in scoring his first goal for the club.
Ten minutes later, Brazil striker Neymar should have made it two but scuffed Suarez’s cross with the goal at his mercy.
And that was punished by Real, with Ronaldo claiming the plaudits after finishing off Karim Benzema’s superb backheel in the box – a seventh goal in eight visits to the Nou Camp for the man crowned World Player of the Year in January.
World record signing Gareth Bale of Wales has seen his relationship with Ronaldo questioned this season, but he had the ball in the net after the Portuguese striker flicked the ball onto him five minutes before half time.
Claudio Bravo in the Barca goal ensured it stayed 1-1 at the break with a fine save from Ronaldo’s long-range effort.
It was then left to Suarez to underline his increasing importance to the Catalans with a finish that left the European Champions to go back to Madrid empty-handed.
Barca finished the stronger as they secured a significant victory in the title race that moved them on to 68 points from 28 games, four ahead of second-placed Real with 10 matches left.
32 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
31 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
17 Neymar (Barcelona)
16 Carlos Bacca (Sevilla)
15 Alberto Bueno (Rayo Vallecano)
Source: Al Jazeera