Goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez helped Barcelona to a narrow 2-1 win at Getafe which stretched their lead at the top of La Liga to five points over Atletico Madrid, who drew 1-1 at Sevilla.
Getafe almost took the lead when Jaime Mata volleyed home superbly but the goal was disallowed after the officials awarded a foul on Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet.
Despite intense pressure from the hosts, Barcelona took the lead through Messi, who showed speed and determination to knock a loose ball in the box past goalkeeper David Soria and then squeeze home from a tight angle.
Gerard Pique should have doubled the Catalans’ lead but was denied from close range by Soria, before Suarez curled an effort inches past the post.
But the Uruguayan managed to get on the scoresheet with a mighty volley from the edge of the area in the 39th minute, when Messi’s free-kick was headed back to him.
Getafe struck the post after an effort deflected against Arthur and then the woodwork, before Mata pulled one back from close range after being teed up by Angel two minutes before the interval.
Angel almost levelled for Getafe right after the restart with an effort inches wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s far post, capitalising on a poor clearance from the German goalkeeper.
Mata should have levelled but somehow fired over with the goal gaping after beating Ter Stegen.
“Leo (Messi) is the best in the world, wherever he plays,” said Suarez. “He always has touches of a special player and to share that with him is incredible.
“(My goal) was really tough and there were a lot of people in the way, but I managed to hit it well.”
Earlier, new Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil earned an impressive 2-0 victory at 10-man Real Madrid to leave Los Blancos fifth, 10 points behind their arch-rivals.
Alguacil’s side, now 11th, took the lead at Madrid in the third minute after Casemiro bowled over Mikel Merino in the area and Willian Jose dispatched the penalty.
Madrid fans showed their anger with a drab display by whistling their players at half-time, but Real Sociedad came closer at the start of the second period with Adnan Januzaj firing across goal.
Worse was to come for Santiago Solari’s side when Lucas Vazquez was dismissed for picking up two yellow cards just after the hour mark.
Geronimo Rulli produced a fine double save to deny Vinicius Junior and Sergio Ramos, and Madrid were left raging after the goalkeeper appeared to fell Vinicius but no penalty was awarded.
The young Brazilian forward offered a lively display up front in one of the few bright spots for Los Blancos.
Midfielder Ruben Pardo sealed Real Sociedad’s victory by heading home at the back post from Willian Jose’s cross, with the Brazilian firing wide in stoppage time when he should have netted the third.
“Vinicius was very good. He is 18 and he showed self-confidence. We are happy because of that and nothing else,” Solari said.
“The pity is that the team did everything to win the game [but] if you can’t score, it’s impossible.”
Atletico, second, and Sevilla, third, tied at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan in a hard-fought affair.
A rocket from Andre Silva beat Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak but crashed against the post and out, though moments later Wissam Ben Yedder sent the hosts ahead.
The French forward fired home from close range in the 37th minute after the ball dropped nicely for him during a scramble in the box.
But Antoine Griezmann equalized just before half-time with a superb free-kick into the top corner, his eighth league goal of the season.
“Sevilla are really strong at home and there were periods in which both teams were on top,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.
“We didn’t attack well in the first half but improved a lot after the break. I think the way we reacted deserves some praise.”
Earlier, Eibar drew 0-0 with Villarreal in a scrappy clash at Ipurua.