MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid and Barcelona surged three points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday when Real beat promoted Las Palmas 3-1 at home and the champions won 2-0 at Getafe.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his eighth goal of the campaign, between strikes from Isco and Jese, in a comfortable win for a depleted Real at the Bernabeu, though they did concede at home for the first time this term in Spain’s top flight.
At Getafe, Neymar stayed ahead of Ronaldo atop the scoring chart with his ninth, a superb volley to make it 2-0 after Luis Suarez hit his eighth of 2015-16 as the South American pair kept Barca motoring in the absence of injured talisman Lionel Messi.
Real and Barca each have 24 points from 10 matches, with Real ahead on goal difference.
Celta Vigo climbed above Atletico Madrid into third on 21 points after a breathtaking long-range effort from Pablo Hernandez sealed a 3-2 comeback win at Real Sociedad.
Imanol Agirretxe twice put Sociedad ahead but each time Iago Aspas levelled before Hernandez won the game a minute from time.
Fifth-placed Villarreal beat Europa League holders Sevilla 2-1 at the Madrigal thanks to goals either side of the break from Mario Gaspar and Cedric Bakambu.
The win put Villarreal level on 20 points with Atletico, who conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Deportivo La Coruna on Friday.
Valencia won 3-0 at home to city rivals Levante and climbed to sixth on 15 points thanks to a Paco Alcacer penalty and goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Zakaria Bakkali.
Despite the convincing scoreline, Valencia supporters expressed their dissatisfaction with coach Nuno and made it clear they want forward Alvaro Negredo, who has been left out of the side in recent weeks, to be reinstated.
Las Palmas are back in the top flight after a 13-year absence and initially appeared headed for a similar drubbing to the one they got last time they played at Real — a 7-0 defeat in February 2002 when Fernando Morientes hit five goals.
Isco raced on to a Casemiro pass and finished clinically past Las Palmas keeper Javi Varas to make it 1-0 in the fourth minute before Ronaldo was given room to head in Marcelo’s cross 10 minutes later.
The Canary Islands club, who are second-bottom pending the rest of the weekend’s results, managed to create some chances, however, and midfielder Hernan Santana scored with a header from a corner in the 38th minute.
It was the first goal Real had conceded at home in five La Liga outings this term but they restored their two-goal advantage five minutes later when Jese cut in from the left and cracked the ball past Varas.
Real comfortably controlled the game in the second half, content to save energy for Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to French champions Paris St Germain, before Ronaldo was denied a second goal by a brilliant Varas block at the death.
“We started the game with a lot of conviction and we were able to score two goals very quickly,” Isco told Spanish television.
“It was a shame to concede the first goal at the Bernabeu this season.”
Barca were anxious to avoid last season’s 0-0 stalemate at Getafe but had to wait until the 37th minute for Suarez to slot home after a stunning backheel layoff from Sergi Roberto.
Neymar, who has been on scintillating form in Messi’s absence, made sure of the points in the 58th when he galloped on to Sergi’s deep cross and fired a fine low shot inside the post.
“I think we played a very intelligent game,” Suarez told Spanish television. “We controlled the ball for the whole match, trying to find a way through as Getafe is a team that allows you very little space,” added the Uruguay striker.
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford)