Real Madrid reeled off their sixth straight LaLiga victory to remain in control at the top of the table, but were made to sweat by Sporting Gijon as they clung on to win 2-1.
A brace for Cristiano Ronaldo made it 10 goals in as many league matches this season, but while it was a return to normal service for him it was far from plain sailing for his team as they had to battle past their dogged opponents in atrocious conditions at the Bernabeu.
Carlos Carmona pulled a goal back for Sporting in the 35th minute and they had a golden chance to level it late on, but Duje Cop missed a penalty with 12 minutes to go as Real held on.
The win means they now head into El Clasico next weekend with at least a four-point cushion on Barcelona.
Substitute Divock Origi and James Milner struck to send Liverpool top of the Premier League as both they and Manchester City stole past previous leaders Chelsea in Saturday’s action.
Sergio Aguero scored two scruffy goals as City won 2-1 at Burnley and Liverpool followed suit by downing Sunderland 2-0 after losing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho to a worrying injury.
Meanwhile, Swansea City claimed an extraordinary 5-4 win over fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, while champions Leicester City narrowly avoided a seventh defeat of the campaign in a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough.
Having seen City prevail at Turf Moor in the early game, Liverpool were under pressure to produce the goods against a Sunderland team who had won their two previous matches.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was in attendance at Anfield, two days after announcing his retirement from football.
But he could only look on with concern as the influential Coutinho was stretchered off with his right ankle in a brace after hurting himself in a challenge by Didier Ndong.
Origi took the Brazil international’s place and he gave Liverpool reward for their dominance in the 75th minute with his first league goal of the season.
Jordan Henderson picked the Belgian forward out on the left and he cut inside onto his right foot and swept a shot inside the far post.
Milner completed victory from the penalty spot in the first minute of injury time.
Burnley took a shock 14th-minute lead against City when Dean Marney met Nicolas Otamendi’s headed clearance with a thumping 25-yard volley that nestled in the bottom-left corner.
But Aguero equalised in the 37th minute, stabbing home after Burnley failed to clear a corner, and the hosts’ luck continued to desert them as both Marney and Johann Berg Gudmundsson went off injured.
A defensive mix-up allowed City to net the decisive goal in the hour, with Fernandinho’s cross striking Aguero and going in after Ben Mee and Stephen Ward had got in each other’s way.
Swansea upped the pressure on Palace manager Alan Pardew by condemning the south London club to a sixth straight defeat in a madcap game that gave Bob Bradley his first win since becoming manager.
Palace led 1-0, fell 3-1 down, fought back to go 4-3 up, but eventually succumbed courtesy of a remarkable brace of injury-time goals from Spanish striker Fernando Llorente.
The victory took Swansea off the foot of the table, where they were replaced by Sunderland, and left Palace above the bottom three on goal difference.
Leicester reached the Champions League last 16 in the week and they were almost brought down to earth with a bump by Middlesbrough at the King Power Stadium.
Alvaro Negredo twice put Boro ahead, but Riyad Mahrez cancelled out his first goal with a 34th-minute penalty and Islam Slimani rescued a draw with another spot-kick in the fourth minute of added time.
Elsewhere, Gareth McAuley’s header was cancelled out by Michael Dawson as West Bromwich Albion were held to a 1-1 draw at Hull City.
In the late game, Pedro’s sublime strike cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s superb opener and Victor Moses struck what proved to be the winner in a 2-1 success for Chelsea, who have not lost to Spurs at home in 30 games.
Borussia Dortmund were brought crashing to earth on Saturday following their record Champions League win with a 2-1 Bundesliga defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, who went third in Germany’s top flight.
It was a first defeat in 10 games for Dortmund and came hot on the heels of their 8-4 romp on Tuesday at home to Legia Warsaw – a record score for a Champions League game.
Hungary international Szabolcs Huszti had given the home side the lead only for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to equalise, but Haris Seferovic grabbed the winner for Frankfurt.
Later on Saturday, second-placed Bayern Munich ran out 2-1 winners over Bayer Leverkusen.
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