|Cristiano Ronaldo hugs Higuain after his superb solo goal [AFP]
Real Madrid fought back from a goal down to beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 and move three points clear of champions Barcelona at the top of the Spanish Primera Division.
The visitors stunned the Bernabeu when David Barral scored against the run of play in the 53rd minute but it only took Manuel Pellegrini's side two minutes to equalise.
Rafael van der Vaart and Xabi Alonso struck in quick succession before Gonzalo Higuain calmed the nerves with a superb solo effort in the 68th minute as Real claimed their 14th win in 14 home games this season.
Real have 68 points from 27 games, three points ahead of champions Barcelona who visit Real Zaragoza on Sunday.
No Champions League hangover
"After Lyon, the team looks like it has recovered and that is the work of the coach,'' Madrid director general Jorge Valdano said of Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini could be out of a job even if he ends the season with a league title because Madrid were eliminated from the European Champions League at the first knockout round for the sixth straight year, despite spending more than $363 million on players.
Athletic Bilbao climbed to sixth on 42 points, above Deportivo Coruna on goal difference, despite being held 2-2 by visiting Getafe in a stormy encounter at San Mames.
The Basque side took the lead through Pablo Orbaiz after 12 minutes on Saturday before Getafe levelled through Manu Del Moral in the 32nd.
Bilbao had Orbaiz sent off soon after but then took the lead with a penalty from Fernando Llorente in the 78th minute, just after Getafe had been reduced to 10 men following a red card for Miguel Torres.
Pedro Leon grabbed a late equaliser for the visitors.
Struggling Real Valladolid and Xerez won to fire their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Valladolid were 2-0 victors at seventh-placed Deportivo thanks to goals from Nauzet Aleman and Haris Medunjanin.
It was Valladolid's first win in 12 matches and the first under coach Onesimo Sanchez, who replaced Jose Luis Mendilibar at the beginning of last month.
Early strikes from Mario Bermejo and Aythami gave Xerez a 2-1 home victory over Tenerife.
Xerez stayed bottom with 18 points, eight short of safety.
Tenerife are second from bottom with 23 points, the same as Valladolid in 18th.
Espanyol were playing Sevilla in the late match.