Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of half time proved enough for Real to overcome Valencia, and give themselves a strong chance of winning the title just a week on from “El Clasico” disappointment, as Barca still have to negotiate tough trips to Villarreal and Sevilla in the run-in.
With five games remaining, Barca will have to re-discover their recent hot run of form against bottom side Xerez this weekend, which deserted them during the bore draw with Espanyol on Saturday.
Malaga now sit just one point above the relegation zone, as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Valladolid, whilst Tenerife below them scored an impressive 3-2 victory over Getafe.
Bottom side Xerez held Racing Santander to a 2-2 draw, as they continued their good run of form, which is likely to have come just too late to dig them out of trouble.
In the race for fourth, Sevilla took apart Sporting Gijon 3-0, thanks to goals from Freddie Kanoute, Luis Fabiano and Cala. They are one point behind Mallorca, who beat Osasuna 2-0 on Monday night and still hold the initiative for the fourth Champion’s League spot.
Villarreal beat a jaded Atletico Madrid 2-1, as the Madrid side now look to have sacrificed any league form they once had for their Europa League campaign, with a semi-final against Liverpool coming up this week.