Real Madrid have ensured Barcelona will wait at least another week to claim the La Liga title after romping to a 6-2 win at Sevilla.Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo was the star of the show, with four goals in a virtuoso performance that would have delighted his manager Jose Mourinho.
Brazilian playmaker Kaka also got on the scoresheet for Real, as did defender Sergio Ramos, who powered Madrid into the lead after 21 minutes with a header, while Alvaro Negredo scored both goals for Sevilla.
The result means Real trail Barca by five points and have three matches remaining, although Barca have four games to play and take on Espanyol at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Athletic Bilbao climbed into fifth place – which would guarantee them a place in next year’s Europa League – with a 3-2 win over Levante at home.
Goals from Gaizka Toquero, David Lopez and Fernando Llorente had Bilbao cruising at 3-0 just after the hour mark but late strikes from Christian Stuani and Victoriano Nano ensured some anxious moments for the hosts in the closing stages.
Atletico Madrid’s grip on sixth place looks tenuous after they were thrashed 3-0 at home by Malaga, who had goals from Rondon, Julio Baptista and Enzo Maresca to thank for their fourth successive league win.
On-loan Spurs midfielder Giovani dos Santos scored a brace to help Racing Santander take a big step towards La Liga survival with a 3-2 win at Hercules, who look certain to face the drop.
Almeria were not so fortunate, and their 2-0 loss at Getafe confirmed a relegation that has looked likely for much of the campaign.
Sporting Gijon had a late penalty from David Barral to earn them a 2-2 draw at home against Deportivo La Coruna, while Valencia moved six points clear of third-placed Villarreal – who play on Sunday – with a 3-0 home win over Real Sociedad.
Roberto Soldado scored twice for the hosts, and Brazilian striker Jonas scored the other.