A five-goal haul from Fernando Morientes helped title-chasing Real Madrid CF completely overpower shell-shocked UD Las Palmas 7-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu and regain top spot in the Primera División table on Sunday.
The Spanish international netted after 22, 35, 52, 71 and 79 minutes and also saw a late penalty saved as he missed out on a famous double hat-trick. Vicente Del Bosque's men were in scintillating form as Morientes, along with a Zinedine Zidane effort and an own goal from Las Palmas' Ángel Sánchez, gave the visitors no chance to recover. The victory sees Madrid leapfrog both Valencia CF and second-placed RC Celta de Vigo who played out a goalless draw on Saturday.
Madrid's fellow title challengers RC Deportivo La Coruña could only manage a scoreless draw against Villarreal CF at the Municipal de Riazor stadium but move up to fourth place at the expense of FC Barcelona, who also drew 0-0 in their encounter with RCD Mallorca on Saturday.
Vital win for Real
Elsewhere on Sunday, bottom club Real Sociedad earned a vital three points with a surprise 3-1 home win against Real Zaragoza at the Anoeta stadium. The hosts took the lead as early as the second minute when Darko Kovacevic opened the scoring and they doubled their advantage two minutes from half-time when Francisco De Pedro hit the target. Despite a 58th-minute goal from Savo Milosevic, Sociedad made the result safe when Óscar De Paula added a third.
In Sunday's evening games, Real Betis Balompié had Fernando Varela sent off late in their encounter with Athletic Club Bilbao but still managed to hang on for a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Sevilla FC took the lead in their match against CD Tenerife but were pegged back as an injury-time equaliser from Jordi cancelled out Moisés García's 15th-minute penalty.
Drama in Barcelona
RCD Espanyol stole a 1-0 victory in second-half injury-time as ten-man Real Valladolid were denied in Barcelona. Martin Posse crashed the ball in from around the penalty spot to earn maximum points for the hosts who climb a place to eleventh place. Rayo Vallecano's chances of avoiding relegation were dealt a severe blow as they succumbed 1-0 to Sabino Sánchez's goal for Club Atlético Osasuna at the El Sadar stadium, while Deportivo Alavés seemed certain to draw against Málaga CF before a late, late goal from Julio Dely Valdes sealed a 1-0 defeat.