Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema were on target as Real Madrid beat Espanyol 2-0 to move to the top of La Liga ahead of Barcelona's game against Mallorca at Camp Nou later on Saturday.
Varane found the breakthrough in the 38th minute with a tidy finish from inside the area after good work from the impressive Benzema.
This wasn't Madrid's best performance in recent weeks and Espanyol remained in the game until late on. However, Benzema's 80th-minute goal killed off an hopes the away team had of snatching a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid's afternoon ended on a sour note, though, when Ferland Mendy was sent off for a second booking. The left-back will miss next week's trip to Valencia -- a game the injured Marcelo is also absent for.
Zinedine Zidane's side now top La Liga with 34 points from their 15 games, three more than Barça. The Catalans will go back top on goal difference if they can beat Mallorca.
Espanyol, meanwhile, remain in real trouble. Pablo Machin's side have just nine points from 16 games and are 19th in the table. They need to find some points soon to avoid getting cut off in the relegation zone.