A first-minute strike from Andres Iniesta and a Nasief Morris own goal gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Recreativo Huelva on Saturday, a fifth straight victory that stretches their lead over Real Madrid to nine points.
Leaders Barca move to 75 with eight matches left, with second-placed Real, who host Real Valladolid on Sunday, on 66. Sevilla, in third, are nine behind champions Real and play at home to struggling Getafe on Sunday.
Barca took the lead inside the first minute when Thierry Henry surged down the left and crossed for Iniesta to sidefoot into the net past stranded Recre goalkeeper Asier Riesgo.
The relegation-threatened visitors did well to keep the Catalans at bay for another hour at the Nou Camp until Iniesta's attempted cross ricocheted into the net off South African defender Morris.
Lionel Messi suffered a rare failure from the penalty spot in the 81st minute when Riesgo saved the Argentine's low effort after Jose Manuel Casado had handled a Daniel Alves cross.
Malaga buried Villarreal with a 0-2 victory at El Madrigal as the battle for the fourth Champions League spot intensified.
Duda scored his first goal in five months to put Malaga ahead, showing composure to place a right-footed shot past Diego Lopez in the 38th minute.
Giuseppe Rossi missed a gilt-edged chance to equalise for Villarreal in the 66th minute, failing to hit the target with a weak header from ten yards out and Marcos Senna compounded Villarreal's woes ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Arsenal by limping off.
Eliseu's seventh La Liga goal five minutes from time secured the points for the visitors, with the striker side-footing past Lopez as Malaga moved within two points of their hosts.