Real move 13 points clear
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice in the second half as Real Madrid moved 13 points clear at the Primera Division summit with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Real Betis.
Betis went ahead early on through Jorge Molina but Madrid battled back to lead with goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Ronaldo.
The home side refused to give in and equalised through Jefferson Montero's 55th-minute strike, but Ronaldo had the final word 17 minutes from time as Jose Mourinho's men recorded their 11th successive league win to move further clear of Barcelona, who play Racing Santander on Sunday.
Jose Salomon Rondon scored the only goal as Malaga leapfrogged Levante into fourth place in the Primera Division with a 1-0 win.
The hosts had by far the better of the opening period but it took them until six minutes after the break to take the lead when Rondon got the merest of touches to Joaquin's cross to divert the ball into the far corner.
Both sides came into the game after back-to-back wins but it was Malaga who appeared the more confident as Levante played extremely cautiously.
On-loan Sporting Gijon midfielder Andre Castro scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory as Sevilla's European ambitions suffered a blow on a rowdy night at El Molinon.
Castro's sublime finish from an acute angle on 32 minutes gave the baying home fans reason for cheer as Sporting ended a seven-game winless run to boost their survival hopes.
A spicy atmosphere saw the home fans routinely throw paper balls at the Sevilla players whose frustration at the hostile atmosphere and Sporting's fine rearguard was evident by the end.
The final whistle prompted a skirmish involving a number of players, most notably Sevilla's Federico Fazio who had to be pulled away from a confrontation with home defender Gregory Arnolin.
To add to the theatre of the night the win constituted a personal triumph for Sporting boss Javier Clemente who has had run-ins with his Sevilla counterpart Michel after he dropped him from a Spain squad while in charge of the national team two decades ago.
The off-field drama overshadowed a wonderful strike from Castro, on loan from Porto, as he expertly controlled Adrian Colunga's lobbed pass before driving an angled shot in with his second touch on 32 minutes.
Imanol Agirretxe scored twice as Real Sociedad cruised to a 3-0 win over Real Zaragoza.
The hosts were dominant from start to finish and had the points sewn up by half-time after three first-half goals. Agirretxe got the first as he volleyed into an unguarded net after Roberto had parried David Zurutuza's cross on 18 minutes.
Three minutes later Carlos Vela made it two as his deflected effort wrong-footed Roberto and Agirretxe tapped home his second after Alberto de la Bella's cross had found him free at the back post.
Vela and Joseba Llorente should have added more goals in the second period and Zaragoza's miserable evening was completed when Maurizio Lanzaro was sent-off for a second bookable offence.