Real Madrid's title hopes suffered a damaging blow after they were held to a goalless draw by Deportivo La Coruna, a result that leaves Jose Mourinho's men seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Madrid dominated the match but a mixture of the woodwork, good goalkeeping by Depor custodian Daniel Aranzubia and poor finishing meant the capital club endured another miserable trip to the Riazor.
Madrid had gone 18 years without a win at Depor's home prior to last season's 3-1 victory, and tonight's slip-up means Barca are a step closer to winning their third successive Primera Division crown.
Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez were all on the scoresheet as Barcelona saw off Real Mallorca 3-0 to power on at the top of the Primera Division standings.
Messi gave Barca a first-half lead with his 26th league goal of the season before second-half strikes from Villa and Pedro helped Barca move clear of second-placed Real Madrid.
Barca were without key quartet Xavi, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes and Dani Alves through a mixture of injury and suspension and they looked set for a testing night at the Iberostar Stadium as Michael Laudrup's Mallorca started brightly.
Jose Antonio Reyes netted a late equaliser against former club Sevilla to earn Atletico Madrid a share of the spoils with a 2-2 draw in a hugely entertaining clash between two of La Liga's struggling big guns at the Vicente Calderon.
Sevilla, who this week were knocked out of the Europa League, twice took the lead through goals from Alvaro Negredo and Ivan Rakitic but Atletico hit back both times to deservedly claim a point.
Teenager Jorge Koke cancelled out Negredo's strike with his first league goal for the club, while Reyes, who came up through the youth ranks at Sevilla, netted Atletico's second equaliser with 14 minutes to go.
Both clubs will be pleased to have avoided defeat against one of their main rivals for a Europa League place, but they could find themselves even further adrift of the top six if Athletic Bilbao beat Valencia on Sunday.
Espanyol turned up the heat in the second half to secure a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad that boosts their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
Espanyol went ahead three minutes before the break courtesy of an Estrada own goal, the Real Sociedad defender turning Alvaro Vazquez's shot past his own goalkeeper. But Estrada quickly made amends by conjuring up an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
Espanyol regained the initiative nine minutes into the second half when Sergio Garcia made it 2-1 after Joan Verdu had supplied an inviting cross from the right.
Jose Callejon looked to have put the match beyond Sociedad's reach with a third nine minutes from time after latching onto a pass from Pedro Rui Fonte. And Javi Marquez put the seal on the home side's win with a fourth on the stroke of full-time curling home a 30-yard freekick.
Sporting Gijon were left to rue a host of missed chances as they were held to a goalless draw by fellow Primera Division strugglers Real Zaragoza.
Carmelo had a goal disallowed late on but Sporting only had themselves to blame after spurning a host of decent opportunities in registering their third straight draw.
Real Zaragoza offered little after a promising opening but did at least get a point after suffering back-to-back defeats.