Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain scored late goals as Real Madrid came from behind to win 2-1 at basement team Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga on Saturday.
Real clearly had their minds on the King's Cup semi-final second leg at holders Barcelona on Tuesday, after the opening game finished 1-1, and fielded a weakened side at the Riazor.
It was only after Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira went on as substitutes in the 57th minute that Jose Mourinho's side started to look dangerous and they went on to take their points tally to 52 from 25 games.
Real are 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, who were hosting Sevilla later on Saturday, and one behind second-placed Atletico Madrid who entertain Espanyol on Sunday.
The champions were without the suspended Sergio Ramos and the injured Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema and Rafael Varane and appeared disjointed in the first half.
A hard-running Depor team, despite five consecutive defeats going into the match, were dangerous on the break and from one such move Riki beat Diego Lopez at his near post with a powerful low drive in the 34th minute.
Real were reeling as Marcelo headed a Pizzi effort off the line, Riki swept a shot past the post and Lopez denied Bruno Gama with a flying save.
After coach Mourinho made his triple substitution, the visitors upped their game and Brazil's Kaka swept in the equaliser with a curling shot from outside the area in the 73rd minute.
Kaka also featured in the second goal, playing Ronaldo into the area and he squared for Argentine striker Higuain to roll the ball home in the 88th minute.
Real finished with 10 men after Angel Di Maria collected two yellow cards in the same incident as he held up a Depor free kick at the end.
Earlier, Brazilian striker Jonas scored twice as Valencia rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Real Zaragoza and move up to fifth with 41 points.
They are one point behind fourth-placed Malaga who visit Real Betis on Sunday.
Valencia, who trail Paris St Germain 2-1 after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, were undone twice in the first 32 minutes at the Romareda with Portugal striker Helder Postiga causing them all kinds of problems.
Apono netted from the penalty spot after Postiga was brought down in the area in the fifth minute.
Postiga then nodded the second after Apono had fired in a free kick.
The visitors found a lifeline when Jonas turned in Aly Cissokho's low cross in the 36th minute and, as Zaragoza tired, the same player volleyed the ball in at the back post after a free kick was headed across the goal in the 69th.
Valencia then hit the crossbar and Zaragoza had reserve goalkeeper Leo Franco sent off for handling outside the area, leaving youth-team keeper Pablo Alcolea to hold the fort for a tense last 13 minutes.
Struggling Real Mallorca slumped to a 3-1 defeat at home to Getafe despite Giovani Dos Santos's outstanding 24th-minute opener as they conceded three times in the last 20 minutes to stay second from bottom.