Ten-man Real Madrid stayed within touch of city rivals Atletico after a 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Sunday.
A thrashing was on the cards for the visitors as Real raced ahead with goals from Alvaro Morata and Sergio Ramos inside 12 minutes.
But Ramos was shown a red card in the 18th minute after accumulating two yellow cards within a minute.
Although Rayo controlled possession for the remainder of the game, a toothless display in front of goal made it easy for Jose Mourinho's team to close out the win.
Earlier, Atletico recorded a 3-0 away win against Real Vallodolid.
The prolific Radamel Falcao scored his 19th goal of the season 10 minutes before the rejuvenated Diego Costa doubled the advantage in the 53rd minute.
Substitute Cristian Rodriguez rounded out the victory on 90 minutes as Atletico kept alive their slim chances of catching runaway leaders Barcelona.
Two second-half goals helped Valencia to a 2-0 home result against struggling Mallorca.
Ricardo Costa's goal on 60 minutes and Roberto Soldado's sealer nine minutes from time kept Valencia in fifth position as they attempt to move into the Champions League qualification positions.
Mallorca's loss leaves them with one win from their last 19 games, with only Deportivo La Coruna below them in the standings.
In Sunday's other matches, Real Sociedad drew 1-1 with Levante while Espanyol recorded a 1-0 home win against Real Betis.