Real Madrid threatened to make La Liga's title race a capital affair by easing to a 4-0 win over struggling Almeria on Saturday.
Barcelona suffered a surprise loss at Granada earlier in the day, meaning Real – who went second in the table with the win – pulled level on points with city rivals Atletico Madrid, who visit Getafe on Sunday.
Star man Cristiano Ronaldo was once again sidelined with a knee injury but it did not hamper Real, who made light of the Portuguese star's absence.
Angel Di Maria scored a 28th-minute opener for Real, and he and Gareth Bale, who scored just after the break, both played starring roles in the victory that extended Almeria's losing run on the road to eight matches.
Isco and Alvaro Morata wrapped up the win with further second-half goals as Real breathed life into their title bid, despite consecutive defeats to Barcelona and Sevilla late last month.
Almeria forward Jonathan Sundy Zongo headed over from an early corner but Real soon hit their stride as Di Maria thudded a 25-yard drive against the crossbar in the fifth minute.
Di Maria seemed determined to find the scoresheet in memorable fashion and Almeria goalkeeper Esteban Suarez saved well as the midfielder struck twice more from outside the penalty area in quick succession.
Karim Benzema lofted a shot over from Bale's 12th-minute cut-back on the end of a blistering run down the left flank.
Bale opted to go it alone midway through the half, cutting in past a pair of challenges to draw another fine save from Esteban, but Di Maria would eventually have his ambition rewarded.
The Argentina midfielder exchanged passes with Nacho to engineer space in the box and arrowed an angled left-footed shot into the far left-corner.
A tangle between Zongo and Fabio Coentrao in the Almeria penalty area then went unpunished by referee Juan Martinez before Bale and Benzema shot wide in the closing moments of a half where the scoreline flattered Francisco's team.
Bale doubled Real's lead eight minutes into the second half, drilling low past Esteban after Benzema and Di Maria linked smoothly.
Benzema was involved again three minutes later, sending a searching cross from the right for Isco to control and whip past Esteban at his near post.
Coentrao was denied a fourth by Esteban, while Benzema failed to adjust his feet in time to convert Nacho's cross and claim the goal his endeavours deserved.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti removed Bale with 20 minutes remaining to allow Morata's productive cameo, not wishing to compound a lengthy absentee list that also included Sami Khedira, Jese, Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo.
And Morata converted a lifted pass from Asier Illarramendi to complete the scoring with five minutes left, sealing a win that put the pressure on Atletico.
|Berisha extends Victory stay|
|Arnold backs fans amid A-League boycott|
|Perez happy at Newcastle|
|Klopp can´t forget ´f***ing´ Palace loss|
|Mihajlovic: Milan didn´t expect extra time|
|Carvalhal hopes cup run spurs Wednesday to league success|
|Coppa Italia Review: AC Milan survive scare, Torino thrash Cesena|
|Hughes happy with rotation policy after League Cup win|
|Football League Review: Burton win to go top of League One|
|Atletico still uncomfortable - Simeone|
|AC Milan 3 Crotone 1 (aet): Bonaventura and Niang extra-time strikes send hosts through|
|Leganes 2 Granada 1: Segunda Division side threaten upset|
|Ligue 1 Review: Leaders Paris Saint-Germain held on the road|
|City thrashing cruel on Hull - Bruce|
|City thrashing cruel on Hull - Bruce|
|Pellegrini: Silva brings style back to City|
|Reaching last four is ´terrific´ - Martinez|
|Lukaku urges Everton to push on|
|FIFA sponsors call for ´independent oversight´ of reforms|
|Stoke City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Potters end visitors´ League Cup run|
|Manchester City 4 Hull City 1: De Bruyne double books semi-final spot|
|Middlesbrough 0 Everton 2: Deulofeu and Lukaku on target in routine win|
|Reus Deportiu 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Third-tier hosts make life difficult for Atleti|
|Amnesty International critical of Qatar, FIFA|
|Angers 0 Paris Saint-Germain 0: Cavani fails to make his mark|
|Ramos: Madrid fight for Undecima every day|
|Silver screen awaits for Vardy?|
|Del Bosque noncommittal on Aduritz form|
|Dybala: Juventus´ slow start normal|
|Koeman confident Southampton can match Liverpool|
|Venezuela stars issue quit threat to FA|
|Moreno agent opens door to Real Madrid offer|
|Herrera: I´m very happy at Manchester United|
|Lars Bender undergoes ankle surgery|
|Delneri takes over at Verona|
|Bellerin: I did not know how to defend until I joined Arsenal|
|Panathinaikos hit with three-point penalty after violence|
|Martial and Depay unhappy under ´selfish´ Van Gaal - Parker|
|Injured Carvajal set to miss Cadiz tie|
|Klopp vows to play strongest Liverpool team against Southampton|
|Ronaldo rested for Copa clash|
|Sanchis implies Neymar provoked Isco kick|
|Benitez: I have no problem with James|
|Luis Enrique plays down Suarez Ballon d´Or omission|
|Sergio Ramos is right - football is cyclical, says Luis Enrique|
|Klopp defends Mignolet amid Ter Stegen rumours|
|Boksic backs Mandzukic to get 20 goals for Juve|
|Neymar hails ´great friends´ Messi and Suarez|
|Chelsea submit planning application for new stadium|
|French sports people need to be exemplary - Valls|
|Moyes: Valencia job has come too soon for Neville|
|Napoli loss ´doesn´t change anything´ for Mancini|
|Ronaldo ´uncomfortable´ as a number nine, claims Madrid great Sanchez|
|Manchester City receive $400m Chinese investment|
|Messi: Ronaldo deserves Ballon d´Or nomination, but I´d prefer Suarez|
|Moyes open to another European gig|
|Everton welcome cup pressure - Martinez|
|Casillas open to MLS move|
|Hughes: Butland going nowhere|
|Milner eyes trophies at ´exciting´ Liverpool|
|Napoli became anxious - Sarri|
|Inter did not deserve to lose - Mancini|
|Messi beats Ronaldo to top prize at La Liga awards|
|Bolton Wanderers 1 Brentford 1: Smith watches on as strugglers snatch point|
|Napoli 2 Inter 1: Higuain at the double as hosts go top|
|Lewandowski: Less pressure on me than Aubameyang|
|Defoe, Larsson to miss Arsenal match|
|Sassuolo 1 Fiorentina 1: Di Francesco´s side extend unbeaten home run|
|Barcelona took ´a step forward´ without Messi - Busquets|
|Unfair to blame Garcia for Roma form - Zanetti|
|Southampton v Liverpool: Returning stars have Ibe in buoyant mood|
|Lewandowski´s five-goal haul recognised for four records|
|Barcelona v Villanovense: Holders get second crack at minnows|
|Verona sack Mandorlini|
|Valencia confirm Nuno departure|
|Premier League clubs reveal agent fees|
|Stoke will not underestimate Sheffield Wednesday – Hughes|
|Robben wants Guardiola to stay at Bayern|
|Aguero allays foot injury concerns|
|Cadiz v Real Madrid: Pepe calls for hard work in Andalusia|
|Bolton confirm players have not been paid for November|
|Neville takes Valencia training following Nuno resignation|
|Mihajlovic targets Coppa Italia triumph|
|Garde confident Villa will survive|
|Everton to make late call on Barry and McCarthy|
|Davids: Messi is an anomaly but Ronaldo just an athlete|
|Simeone open to January signings following Tiago injury|
|Messi leads nominees for Puskas Award|
|Hummels defends himself after media criticism|
|Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar nominated for Ballon d´Or|
|Luis Enrique, Guardiola and Sampaoli up for World Coach of the Year|
|Chelsea about the team, not just Costa - Ivanovic|
|Kuyt open to Feyenoord extension|
|Barcelona lodge complaint over ex-Madrid duo´s Neymar comments|
|Davies wants Manchester City quarter-final to get crazy|
|Ribery ordeal is over – Rummenigge|
|Smalling: Vardy run opens door to non-League hopefuls|
|Bender relieved to end Dortmund losing streak|
|Mata: Manchester United have six finals in December|
|Vardy reveals painful road to Premier League record|
|Pardew urges Newcastle to back McClaren|
|Russian clubs banned from signing Turkish players|
|Klopp expects Coutinho to face Southampton|
|Valverde: Let´s hope Barcelona don´t sign Aduriz|
|De Bruyne relishing link-up with Silva|
|´Crazy´ Munich could convince Guardiola to stay|
|Defiant Garcia refuses to resign despite Roma slump|
|Monk confident Swansea can turn the corner|
|Bellerin: Arsenal can cope without Sanchez|
|McClaren: Newcastle not panicking|
|Klopp delighted with Sturridge, Henderson returns|
|I wouldn´t swap Lukaku for Vardy - Martinez|
|MLS Review: Timbers, Crew to meet in final|
|Nuno saddened by Valencia departure|
|Morata will become a key player - Allegri|