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Real go top as Barcelona slip up

gareth-bale-rmBarcelona suffered a surprising 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad while Real Madrid easily dispatched Elche 3-0, sending Los Blancos atop the Spanish La Liga table in what may prove to be a decisive day in the 2013/14 campaign.

The race for the Spanish La Liga title took a potentially important turn on Saturday as Real Madrid won easily while Barcelona suffered a shock defeat.

Madrid eased to a 3-0 win at home to Elche in the opening game of the night and then watched on as Barça slipped up 3-1 at fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

With Atletico Madrid not in action until Sunday, when they visit Osasuna, the results left Carlo Ancelotti’s side three points clear at the top.

Asier Illaramendi’s first-half opener got Madrid off the mark before a stunning 71st-minute strike from Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player, put the hosts out of reach. Isco hit a third with ten minutes remaining.

Barcelona endured another miserable trip to the Anoeta, where they were beaten 3-2 by Sociedad in the corresponding fixture last season.

The Basque side went ahead in the 32nd minute when Gorka Elustondo’s header found the net via the shoulder of visiting defender Alex Song.

Lionel Messi equalised four minutes later with a typically clinical finish, but further home goals in the first 14 minutes of the second half – scored by Antoine Griezmann and David Zurutuza – ensured the champions left San Sebastian empty-handed for the third time in four seasons

Getafe remain in trouble near the bottom of the table after a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo, although they did well to pick up a point after playing the majority of the second half with ten men.

Angel Lafita gave Luis Garcia’s side the lead after 20 minutes but Getafe failed to cling onto their advantage and made things easier for Celta when Lisandro Lopez was shown a second yellow card early in the second half, shortly after which Rafinha equalised.

In Saturday’s late match, relegation rivals Almeria and Malaga played out a goalless draw.