New Granada boss Lucas Alcaraz enjoyed a dream first game in charge as his side pulled off a shock victory over Madrid at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. Should Barcelona win at Valencia later on Sunday, the Blaugrana would get to increase the gap to an impressive 18-point margin.
Alcaraz has only recently taken over the reins following the sacking of Juan Antonio Anquela, who left with the club in 17th place in the standings, two points above the relegation zone.
Osasuna's win over Celta Vigo earlier on Saturday also meant Granada had dropped into the bottom three by kick-off, but they climbed out again thanks to an own goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, who glanced a corner into his own net midway through the first half.
Emiliano Armenteros' second-half strike was enough to move Osasuna out of the relegation zone as they leapfrogged Celta Vigo with a 1-0 win at the Reyno de Navarra.
The hosts controlled a first period that was disturbed by a fierce wind in Pamplona and could easily have been in front before the break as Armenteros saw a header come back off the crossbar and Alvaro Cejudo was twice denied by good saves from Javi Varas.
However, the goal did arrive just 10 minutes after the break as Lolo cushioned a header into the Argentine's path and he rifled the ball low past Varas.
Getafe registered their first win in 10 games as they came from a goal and a man down inside 11 minutes to beat Deportivo la Coruna 3-1.
Miguel Angel Moya was sent off for bringing down Riki inside the area early on and Pizzi converted the resulting penalty to give the visitors the perfect start.
However, the hosts were level at the break as Diego Castro also scored from the spot after Ze Castro had upended Abdel Barrada, and when Depor's Abel Aguilar was sent off for a second bookable offence with 20 minutes to go, Luis Garcia's men took full advantage with two goals in two minutes from Alvaro Vasquez and Adrian Colunga.
Espanyol continued their climb away from the relegation zone with a deserved 3-2 home win over Levante.
Two goals in as many second-half minutes from Christian Stuani and Sergio Garcia effectively secured a win that was made to look more nervy after a late Obafemi Martins strike.
Espanyol dominated the opening period but relied on Vicente Iborra's own goal to hold a 1-0 half-time lead they relinquished almost immediately after the break to Ruben's clever header.
The hosts have lost just once in nine games under new boss Javier Aguirre, and they showed why they are on the rise as Stuani and Sergio Garcia combined to score the quickfire double which proved decisive.
Meanwhile on Friday, Athletic Bilbao had to battle from two goals down as they salvaged a valuable point with a 2-2 draw against Valladolid.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hopes striker Radamel Falcao can return in time for Sunday's La Liga match against Real Betis as they bid to stay above Madrid.
Falcao was not listed in Simeone's 18-man squad for Thursday's Copa del Rey match against Sevilla as he recovers from a thigh injury suffered on January 20.
The Colombia striker accounts for almost half of Atletico's goals this season and they are desperate to get him back with Madrid just four points behind in third place.
But, while recognising Falcao's importance to the team, Simeone insisted he would not be rushed back.
"We can't ignore the fact that he is a very important player for the team," he said.
"The reality is that Falcao is to us what Cristiano Ronaldo is to Real Madrid or Messi to Barcelona.
"I only want players of their calibre when they are on top form and not before."
Barcelona start the weekend 11 points clear at the top, but face one of the tougher assignments in the league as they travel to Valencia, who have won seven of their 11 matches at the Mestalla this season.
While Barca streak clear and the Madrid clubs scrap over second, there is still a big gap to fourth-placed Malaga, who are under pressure from four clubs below them.
They host Real Zaragoza needing a win to hold off the challenges from Betis, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia and Levante, who are all within two points below them.
The battle at the bottom remains just as intense, with Mallorca travelling to Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Saturday's La Liga Results
Sunday's La Liga Fixtures
Friday's La Liga Result