Barcelona stayed on track for their third consecutive league title after they enjoyed their first away victory in La Liga in four months with a 4-0 thrashing of Recreativo Huelva.
Samuel Eto'o scored twice, his first came after just three minutes when he chipped the out of position Recreativo 'keeper Javier Lopez Vallejo from 30 metres.
Gianluca Zambrotta got his first league goal for Barca six minutes before the break when he chipped the ball past Lopez Vallejo from the corner of the six yard box.
Eto'o then added his second goal four minutes later sneaking in at the far post to sidefoot home Sylvinho's long pass.
Lionel Messi added Barca's fourth four minutes from time to give the Catalan club their best away victory in any competition this season.
The victory means that the reigning Spanish champions have a three point lead over nearest rivals Sevilla, although the UEFA Cup winners have a game in hand.
Sevilla will be trying to keep up with Barca by defeating Celta Vigo on Sunday but they now have an acutely inferior goal difference.
Third-placed Valencia slipped up in their pursuit of the leading pair when they went down 2-0 at home to Racing Santander.
Goals from Pedro Munitis and Oriol Lozano clinched three points for Racing who still have ambitions of qualifying for European competition for the first time.
Former Spanish international striker Munitis put Racing ahead on 20 minutes, finding the net from the edge of the six yard box following a long, looping pass by Nicola Zigic out on the right wing.
Racing clinched all three points when they went 2-0 ahead from a header by Oriol after 63 minutes, the defender connecting with a Munitis corner.
Despite being banned from European matches for the next seven months, Valencia defender David Navarro is still eligible for domestic matches, much to the disdain of UEFA, and as such took the place of the injured Roberto Ayala.
Real Madrid are fourth, two points behind Valencia, and a win against relegation-threatened Gimnastic Tarragona on Sunday would see them leapfrog over the 2002 and 2004 Spanish champions.
"If we win and play well that would be perfect but the most important thing is that we win because we have given away too many points at home. The numbers say that clearly," said Real coach Fabio Capello on Saturday.
Real have drawn four and lost three of their 12 league games at home this season.
In Saturday's other matches, two goals in less than three minutes after the start of the game gave Real Mallorca a 2-0 win over Real Betis and handed the Seville-based side its first loss in 10 games.