Real Madrid returned to the top of La Liga with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu Saturday night.
Toni Kroos put the hosts ahead after 14 minutes with a well-taken, side-footed finish from Vinicius Junior’s pass.
Talismanic forward Karim Benzema doubled the advantage before half-time, slotting in his 10th league goal of the season from David Alaba’s cross.
Substitute Radamel Falcao headed in with 13 minutes left but Rayo could not find an equaliser and remain sixth.
Victory moved Carlo Ancelotti’s side two points clear of Real Sociedad, although Sevilla will join them on 27 points if they defeat Real Betis on Sunday (20:00 GMT).
Earlier, Real’s archrivals Barcelona surrendered a three-goal half-time lead to draw 3-3 at Celta Vigo.
The result leaves the Catalans on ninth, 10 points adrift of pacesetters Madrid.