Vinicius Jr struck three minutes from time gave Real Madrid a 2-1 win at home to third-placed Sevilla and strengthened their position at the top of La Liga.
The Brazilian received the ball on the left before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area that leaves his side four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad.
Sevilla opened the scoring from Rafa Mir’s free header in the 12th minute and moved the ball with relative ease as Real Madrid failed to pressure.
Lucas Ocampos smashed a curling shot against the Real Madrid post on the half-hour, and three minutes later, Sevilla keeper Bono gifted Madrid an equalizer. Eder Militao’s 40-yard shot didn’t look dangerous, but the keeper made a horrible mess of his save, pushing the ball onto the post to leave Benzema with a simple tap-in.
Vinicius’ goal came just when a draw was looking a likely result but even after that Sevilla were close to an equalizer, with Thibaut Courtois clawing Thomas Delaney’s effort off the line.
Real Sociedad’s title challenge looks to be running out of steam after they lost 1-0 away to Espanyol, who scored thanks to Yangel Herrera’s deflected shot 15 minutes from time.
Diego Lopez was another of Espanyol’s heroes with some excellent saves and Real Sociedad had a goal ruled out from Alexander Isak after the ball hit referee Mateu Lahoz in the buildup.
Atletico Madrid moved up to second after a 4-1 thrashing of Cadiz with all of the goals came in the second half.
A tight first 45 minutes saw the teams go in 0-0, but Thomas Lemar’s 56th-minute header put Atletico ahead and from there it was all one-way with Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha rounding off a surprising display of attacking football from Diego Simeone’s men.
Levante remain winless all season after three second-half goals from Juanmi overturned their 1-0 halftime lead to give Betis a 3-1 win.
Shkodran Mustafi had put Levante in front in the sixth minute, but Juanmi’s hat-trick saw Betis roar back in the second half and left Levante coach Javier Pereira in danger of losing his job.