FC Barcelona moved to within one point of leaders Real Madrid CF at the Liga summit after a comprehensive home victory against Getafe CF.
The champions, who a month ago lay ten points behind José Mourinho's charges, put the pressure on the pacesetters by completing their tenth consecutive league victory in style.
Alexis Sánchez broke the deadlock with a curling shot (13) after latching on to Lionel Messi's chested lay-off and the Argentinian international scored his 39th league goal of the campaign with a rasping shot just before half-time following a one-two with Andrés Iniesta. Second-half headers by Alexis and Pedro Rodríguez completed the scoring.
Madrid can restore their four-point advantage by winning the capital derby on Wednesday, though Club Atlético de Madrid need a home victory in order to close the gap on sixth-placed CA Osasuna, who defeated RCD Espanyol 2-0. Raúl García's second-half double put paid to the Barcelona-based side, who had both Coutinho and Juan Forlín sent off after the interval.
Elsewhere, Real Betis Balompié salvaged a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad de Fútbol after Rubén Castro (70) cancelled out Carlos Vela's fourth goal in three Liga matches.
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|1||Real Madrid CF||31||79|
|7||Club Atlético de Madrid||31||42|
|12||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||31||40|
|13||Real Betis Balompié||32||39|
|14||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||32||38|
|19||Real Racing Club||31||25|
|20||Real Sporting de Gijón||31||25|