Real Sociedad strengthened their hold on third place with a convincing 3-1 Basque derby victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Elsewhere Yangel Herrera's late lob earned Girona a 2-1 win over Sevilla, piling more misery on Jorge Sampaoli's side, 17th.
Imanol Alguacil's Real Sociedad, aiming to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2014, moved six points behind leaders Barcelona.
La Real are only three points behind Los Blancos, albeit having played an extra game than the top two, currently in Saudi Arabia.
Alexander Sorloth, Takefusa Kubo and Mikel Oyarzabal's goals helped the hosts beat their rivals at the Reale Arena.
Oihan Sancet struck for Athletic, who had Yeray Alvarez sent off in the second half for a foul on the superb Kubo.
"(I feel) joy, goals are important for people that play up front," Oyarzabal told Movistar.
"The most important thing was everything else – winning, the way we did it, we were better in almost all the game."
Ernesto Valverde's team have had a good start to the season themselves and defeat leaves them eighth, just two points behind the top four.
Sorloth netted his fourth goal in four consecutive league games to break the deadlock after 25 minutes.
The Norwegian stayed onside to control Igor Zubeldia's header, sent back into the danger area, and then finished with aplomb.
Their second goal was brilliantly worked, with veteran playmaker David Silva winning the ball back and feeding Kubo.
The Japan international nutmegged Dani Vivian and then fired confidently beyond Unai Simon to double his team's lead.
Sancet pulled one back three minutes later with a smart finish beyond Alex Remiro, to keep Athletic in the game.
However Alvarez was dismissed for felling Kubo in the area – a decision which Athletic vehemently contested – and Oyarzabal netted calmly from the spot, his first goal since returning from injury at the end of December.
The Spanish striker, who ruptured a knee ligament in March, replaced Sorloth early in the second half after he suffered a knock – the one negative note for Alguacil's side.