Goals from Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata helped Real Madrid ease past Real Sociedad in a comfortable 4-0 win at the Anoeta Stadium on Saturday.
The capital club were under pressure going into the match at the Anoeta following wins for both of their title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid earlier in the day, with Real Sociedad also in the need of points in their quest for a Champions League place.
Having home advantage appeared to inspire Sociedad against their more illustrious rivals as they enjoyed the best of the first half.
Antoine Griezmann came closest to scoring for the Basque outfit but saw his looping header land on the roof the net.
However, after offering precious little in the first 45 minutes, right on the stroke of half-time Real took the lead with their first effort on target.
Karim Benzema wriggled clear of three markers to fire in a vicious shot from just inside the box that proved too hot to handle for Claudio Bravo, with former Sociedad star Asier Illarramendi on hand to stab home the rebound with his knee.
Buoyed by the goal, the second half was largely one-way traffic as Los Blancos were twice denied a second goal by the bar.
Firstly Sergio Ramos saw his header hit the frame from a Xabi Alonso free-kick, before Benzema saw a 25-yarder strike almost exactly the same spot.
The crucial second did eventually come though, with a huge helping hand from Erreala keeper Bravo who, in attempting to launch a quick counter-attack, miscued straight to Bale and the Welsh ace took one touch before drilling past the out-of-position stopper from fully 35 yards out.
Ramos and Pepe combined from a 85th-minute corner to grab a third, with the Portuguese defender side-footing home from close range after the skipper’s unselfish knock-down, before Alvaro Morata raced through unchallenged from the half-way line to coolly complete the scoring in the 88th minute.
The result was a real statement of intent from Carlo Ancelotti’s men as the emphatic nature of the victory was secured in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, with Los Blancos moving back to within three points of City rivals Atletico.