Defeats for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have left Real Madrid as the sole La Liga leaders for the first time since May 2012
Gareth Bale scored a 30-yard rocket to help Real to a 3-0 win over Elche, in their third successive game without Cristiano Ronaldo. Asier Illaramendi, Gareth Bale and Isco Alarcon all shone in a win which was crucial to Real's title chances.
Illaramendi made the opener at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 34th minute, before Bale quashed Elche's victory hopes with a missile in the 72nd minute and Isco sealed victory nine minutes later.
Barcelona have now dropped points in four of their last seven games, after starting the campaign with 13 wins and a draw. Barca boss Tata Martino headed into their latest game with Real Sociedad full of confidence after a Champions League win at Manchester City. However, his decision to rest key players like Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas backfired in San Sebastian, and finally they were beaten 3-1.
Martino tried to reinforce his defence by playing with two holding midfielders, Sergio Busquets and Alex Song, rumoured to be a target for Manchester United. However Song scored an own goal in the 32nd and although Lionel Messi equalized in the 36th, Antoine Griezmann restored the advantage in the 54th before setting up David Zurutuza sealed victory in the 59th - leaving Barcelona three points behind Madrid, the first time they have trailed their arch-rivals this season.
Atletico Madrid slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Osasuna on Sunday, the latest slip-up in a prolonged period of poor form for Los Rojiblancos.
Alvaro Cejudo gave Osasuna an early lead before a mistake by Juanfran allowed Emiliano Armenteros space to score in the 21st minute, and three minutes before the break Roberto Torres added the third goal, killing the game as a contest.
It was the first time Atletico have conceded three goals in the first half since Diego Simeone took over as coach at the end of 2011 season. They are now preparing for their next game, the derby against Real.
Real Madrid are now the sole leaders for the first time since the end of the 2011-12 season, on 63 points with 13 matches left. Barcelona and Atletico have 60 points with the Catalan giants ahead on goal difference.
Real Madrid 3-0 Elche
Real Sociedad 3-1 Barcelona
Osasuna 3-0 Atletico
Rayo 0-1 Sevilla
Betis 0-2 Athletic
Valencia 2-1 Granada
Valladolid 1-1 Levante
Celta 1-1 Getafe
Almeria 0-0 Malaga
Espanyol - Villarreal (Monday-22:00)