David Barral (53) silenced the Santiago Bernabéu when he was played in down the right, advanced into the penalty area and beat Iker Casillas with an angled drive into the roof of the net. The lead proved short-lived, however, as Rafael van der Vaart (55) equalised and Xabi Alonso (57) headed Manuel Pellegrini’s team in front at the far post.
Gonzalo Higuaín rounded off the scoring midway through the second half with a superb solo effort, his 20th Liga goal of the season. The victory is Madrid’s 14th from as many home league matches this campaign. Sevilla were beaten 2-0 at Espanyol, for whom Pablo Daniel Osvaldo scored twice, and will surrender fourth spot if Mallorca overcome mid-table Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna lost 2-0 at home to third-bottom Real Valladolid, squandering the chance to further their claims for a top-four place. Xerez, meanwhile, beat Tenerife 2-1 in the match between the division’s bottom two, but are still eight points shy of safety.