Real Madrid secured a 1-0 win over Espanyol in La Liga to move two points clear of Barcelona at the top of the league.
Both sides competed aggressively and the match started at a furious pace with the first chance falling to the home side.
The deadlock was broken moments before the end of the first half when Karim Benzema’s brilliant back-heeled assist to Casemiro led to a stunning goal.
Chinese star Wu Lei was among the Espanyol players who put up a good fight, but the huge gap in quality told on the pitch as Real took a complete control of the game.
Real Madrid remained incredibly disciplined and managed their lead well to the end, barely giving their opponents any chance. Zinedine Zidane’s side finished the game with a clean sheet for the second match in a row.
Real Madrid now have 71 points on the La Liga table with a two-point lead over Barcelona.
Karim Benzema delivered another moment of magic on Sunday with his sublime assist to Casemiro.
Benzema’s volley against Valencia could be goal of the season and he might now have a claim to best assist after his brilliant back heel teed up Casemiro to finish for a crucial 1-0 win.
Madrid’s advantage in the table, coming after Barca’s draw away at Celta Vigo on Saturday, is their biggest since February and puts them within sight of their second league title in eight years.
Barcelona certainly have the harder run-in, with a resurgent Villarreal side to follow Atletico and then local rivals Espanyol, who have shown they might yet finish strong after a determined performance under new coach Franciso Rufete.
Other La Liga results
Levante 4-2 Real Betis
Villarreal 2-0 Valencia
Granada 1-2 Eibar