Real Madrid CF recovered from the second-minute dismissal of goalkeeper Iker Casillas to win 1-0 at RCD Espanyol and close to within five points of Liga leaders FC Barcelona.
Hoping to profit from Barcelona's 1-1 draw at Real Sporting de Gijón on Saturday, the Merengues were rocked when Casillas was sent off for bringing down José Callejón outside the area. Despite the early blow, the visitors held firm and secured all three points thanks to Marcelo's finish from a tight angle after 24 minutes.
There was disappointment for Villarreal CF as they failed to haul themselves back up to third. Two points behind Valencia CF, the Yellow Submarine suffered a 1-0 reverse at RC Deportivo La Coruña, Alberto Lopo making the difference for the hosts with an hour gone.
Elsewhere, seventh-placed Getafe CF conceded a 95th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at bottom club Málaga CF, while Levante UD clambered out of the relegation zone thanks to a 1-0 success against second-bottom UD Almería. CA Osasuna slipped into danger in their place, finally, following their 1-0 loss at Real Sociedad de Fútbol.