Real Madrid remained two points clear at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win over Alaves.
Karim Benzema was by a distance Madrid’s shining light in the first 45 minutes and deservedly opened the scoring by crashing home Dani Carvajal‘s cross just after the half hour mark.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s men went missing after the break as Alaves dominated possession for long spells.
Edgar Mendez and Manu Garcia failed to hit the target with huge chances to equalise.
And eventually Madrid’s extra quality in the final third told when Cristiano Ronaldo teed up Isco to rifle into the roof of the net from a narrow angle much to the relief of a nervy Santiago Bernabeu.
7th league goal of the season for Isco, one away from equalling his best tally for Real Madrid
— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) April 2, 2017
Nacho slotted home a third two minutes from time into an empty net after Fernando Pachecho had denied Gareth Bale with a stunning stop.
A Messi-less Barcelona were inspired to 4-1 victory by Luis Suarez in Granada as Luis Enrique’s side stayed on Real Madrid’s shoulder in the Spanish title race despite the best efforts of Chelsea loanee Jeremie Boga.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder came on at half-time and ran Barcelona’s rearguard ragged to cancel out Suarez’s goal. But the Uruguayan teed-up up Paco Alcacer to put Barcelona back in-front.
Ivan Rakitic made it 3-1 and Neymar then added the fourth with his 100th goal for Barcelona.
Neymar’s game by numbers vs. Granada:
6 chances created
Top of his game right now. 🔝 pic.twitter.com/CRMZYXn8nb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 2, 2017
Atletico Madrid defeated Malaga 2-0 to secure their fourth consecutive win and regain third place on Saturday.
Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion scored in the first half and Filipe Luis sealed the victory in the second to move Atletico one point ahead of Sevilla, which hosts relegation-wary Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
Diego Simeone’s team had been outside of the top three since the 10th round, and dropped as low as sixth after briefly leading the league.
Third place is important because it guarantees an automatic spot for the Champions League next season. The fourth-placed team has to go through a playoff.
“Each match is crucial now,” said Felipe Luis.
Malaga controlled possession from the start at its La Rosaleda Stadium but it was Atletico which capitalized on its chances, with Koke and Luis scoring from inside the area.
“It was a dangerous match but we didn’t make any mistakes,” Simeone said. “Despite the result, it wasn’t an easy victory.”
It was the sixth consecutive winless game for Malaga, which dropped to 16th.
Sevilla dropped points for the fourth consecutive league game when Sporting Gijon held them to a 0-0 draw at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
The goalless draw saw Jorge Sampaoli’s men drop out of the top three for the first time since November. Ivan Cuellar in the Sporting goal kept the home team at bay and frustrated the Andalusians who recorded 17 shots and dominated throughout.