Barcelona closed the gap on Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division back to 10 points thanks to another two goals from Lionel Messi in a 2-0 win at Racing Santander.
Andres Iniesta had hit the bar and Cesc Fabregas was denied by a fine save from Mario Fernandez before Messi did put the visitors in front as he slid in to meet Fabregas' cross on 29 minutes.
And the Argentinian doubled his and Barca's tally for the day when a penalty was given after Fabregas went down softly under Domingo Cisma's challenge and Messi sent Mario the wrong from the spot.
Barcelona and Messi in particular had been in record-breaking form in midweek as they swept aside Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 and although they never quite hit those heights at El Sardinero, they were never in danger against a Racing side who failed to muster a single shot on goal all day.
Valencia squandered a two-goal advantage as Real Mallorca hit back to claim a point in a 2-2 draw at the Mestalla.
Unai Emery's men held a comfortable lead at the break thanks to goals from Tino Costa and Aritz Aduriz but the visitors, who started the day just five points above the relegation zone, showed great heart to pull one back through Emilio Nsue before Victor equalised.
Valencia, who had Costa sent-off late on, remain third and still look a good bet to claim a Champions League spot while the Balearic Islanders will reflect on a good away point.
Atletico Madrid moved to within four points of Malaga in fourth place with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Granada.
The visitors started brightly and had a decent penalty claim turned down when Ikechukwu Uche appeared to be bundled over by Miranda, but it was the Brazilian who put the hosts ahead at the other end when, in the 39th minute, he volleyed in Diego Godin's header.
The second period was played at a similarly pedestrian pace but after Granada had been reduced to 10 men when Henrique was dismissed in the 83rd minute, Radamel Falcao made sure of the three points as his shot squeezed under Julio Cesar after a wonderful run and cross from Juanfran.
Athletic Bilbao failed to build on Thursday night's hugely impressive Europa League victory at Manchester United after slumping to a 2-1 defeat at Osasuna.
The visitors, 3-2 winners at Old Trafford, were beaten by an own goal from Ander Iturraspe and a Raul Garcia header - both created by home captain Francisco Punal - with Fernando Llorente replying for the visitors.
Kalu Uche struck a hat-trick as the form book was thrown out the window at Estadi Cornella-El Prat where struggling Espanyol crushed Rayo Vallecano 5-1 to pick up a welcome victory.
Espanyol had claimed just two points from their previous five games, culminating in last weekend's 5-0 defeat at Real Madrid, whereas promoted Rayo had been charging up the standings after winning four of their last five matches.
However, it was the Barcelona-based side who took the spoils today thanks to a blistering start which saw Uche and Phillippe Coutinho both net first-half braces.
Rayo pulled a goal back after the break through former Espanyol favourite Raul Tamudo but Uche completed his treble soon after to end any faint hopes of a comeback from the visiting side.