Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th goal for Real Madrid to help his side beat Sevilla 4-1 and move within four points of the La Liga title.
With Barcelona beating Las Palmas 4-1, a controversial Nacho free-kick and Ronaldo’s landmark goal put Real in a commanding position in the first half.
Stevan Jovetic pulled a goal back for the visitors early in the second half, but another Ronaldo strike and Toni Kroos’ toe-poked finish wrapped up all three points for Los Blancos.
The result means Real Madrid, who have a game in hand over Barcelona, have to collect four points from their away trips to Celta Vigo and Malaga this week – both on Sky Sports – to ensure they win the league.
With both managers making five changes to their starting XIs and Sevilla head coach Jorge Sampaoli electing to play three at the back, Real began the match firmly on the front foot as they went in search of an early opening goal.
The deadlock was broken in the ninth minute in controversial circumstances. Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic was fouled just outside the box and a free-kick was awarded to Real Madrid. However, before Sevilla had time to even put a wall together, and just 10 seconds after the free-kick was awarded to Real, the Spanish defender Nacho curled the ball low into the bottom corner – with the referee surprisingly allowing the goal to stand.
Clearly fired up by Real’s opener, Sevilla tried to get back into the game through former Manchester City striker Jovetic who saw a first-time shot smash off the post after his low strike on goal was palmed away by Keylor Navas just moments beforehand.
Real Madrid, however, posed their usual threat on the counter and doubled their lead in the 22nd minute as Ronaldo got his 400th goal in all competitions for the club.
A slick Real move was led by Marco Asensio, who had a shot blocked by Gabriel Mercado, before James Rodriguez’s follow-up shot was palmed away by Sergio Rico as the ball dropped to the feet of Ronaldo for a simple tap in.
Despite Real holding a two-goal lead, Jovetic would cause Real’s defence problems again as he tried an audacious lob on goal which beat Navas, but bounced off the crossbar. The Montenegro international then forced Navas into making another great save five minutes before half-time when he broke through on goal after a one-two with Joaquin Correa, with the Costa Rican sticking both arms out to push the ball away from danger.
After a frustrating first half for Sevilla, the visitors got a deserved goal in the 48th minute through their most dangerous player Jovetic. Vitolo played a neat one-two with Steven N’Zonzi and, on the edge of the box, the Spanish striker teed the ball up for Jovetic to curl it into the bottom corner.
Despite Sevilla pulling a goal back, Real would continue to press forward as Sevilla sat deeper. Eventually, Zinedine Zidane’s men restored their two-goal cushion in the 77th minute with Ronaldo getting his second of the night.
Asensio played in Germany international Kroos down the left flank, who squared the ball back to Real’s talisman, and the Portuguese unleashed a ferocious shot at Rico’s near post which crashed in off the underside of the bar.
Kroos killed off the game completely just seven minutes later after he picked up Nacho’s pass and cleverly toe-poked the ball into the opposite bottom corner.
Real Madrid could have won the game by five goals through Lucas Vazquez in injury time, but they were made to settle for four.