Real Madrid maintained their lead at the top of La Liga with a 4-1 win over Racing Santander.

Goals from Figo and Zidane gave Real a 2-0 half-time lead, but Nafti pulled one back for the visitors immediately after the break. Late strikes from Portillo and Guti secured Real’s victory.

Although manager Vicente delBosque admitted that the scoreline flattered his team.

“It wasn’t as comfortable as the result suggests,” Del Bosque said afterwards.

Real Sociadad kept up the pressure on the leaders beating Alaves 3-1, in the Basque derby, to keep them just one point behind the leaders.

Goals from Kovacevic, Nihat and Karpin came in the first half. Navarro netted a consolation goal for the visitors.

Deportivo La Coruna leapfrogged Valencia into third place, with a 2-1 defeat of Villareal after being 1-0 down. Valencia’s grip on their title loosened after a 1-0 home reverse against Atletico Madrid – a late goal from Carlos Aguilera secured the points for Atletico.

But Valencia boss, Rafa Benitez did not seem unduly concerned by the performance.

“It wasn’t an attitude problem, but more about not being physically fresh,” he said.

Barcelona continued their poor domestic season, managing only a 1-1 draw at home to Real Volladoid.

Barca’s players havenow resigned themselves to missing out on a Champions League spot.

“We can still dream but our first priority is to secure a slot in the UEFA Cup,” said Frank de Boer.

At the bottom of the table, Espanyol and Recreativo did themselves no favours after playing out a goaless draw. Recreativo keeper, Jose Lique earned the bottom club a point with a series of great stops, including a penalty save from Raul Tamudo.

Rayo Vallecano claimed their first victory in four games to open up a three-point gap over Recreativo with an 87th minute winner securing them a 1-0win.