Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to give Real Madrid a 2-1 win at Celta Vigo on Sunday, lifting Jose Mourinho's side provisionally into second place in the Spanish league.
Except for Celta's initial and last-gasp surges, Madrid had the better of the scoring chances at Balaidos Stadium despite Mourinho making several changes to his starting team following a week featuring wins over Barcelona and Manchester United.
Ronaldo was well positioned to score from a loose ball in the 61st minute. Striker Iago Aspas leveled against the run of play two minutes later, but the Portugal forward converted a spot kick earned by Kaka in the 72nd.
Ronaldo has 26 league goals this season, second only to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi with 40.
Defending champion Real (17-5-4) is 13 points back of Barcelona (23-2-2) and moved into second place as Atletico Madrid (18-5-3) lost 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad.
Xabi Prieto scored the only goal after 53 minutes to inflict a sixth loss of the season on their opponents.
Iker Muniain scored his first goal of the season as Athletic Bilbao overcame Valencia 1-0 at San Mames to record a victory that eased their fears of being dragged into a relegation fight.
Levante missed the chance to move closer to the Europa League places as Getafe survived a one-sided goalless draw at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.