Barcelona, who take on Bayern Munich in Germany on Tuesday, needed an 84th-minute goal from Cesc Fabregas to earn a 1-0 win over Levante at the Nou Camp after David Villa had missed a first-half penalty.
It may not have been the most clinical of performances from a Barca side missing star man Lionel Messi but the victory restored the Catalan club's 13-point lead at the top of the standings after nearest challengers Madrid had beaten Real Betis 3-1 earlier in the evening.
With six games remaining, that means Barca could clinch the title next weekend if they beat Athletic Bilbao away from home and defending champions Madrid slip up against local rivals Atletico at the Vicente Calderon.
More good news to come out of Saturday night's match for Barca was that full-back Eric Abidal made his first start for the club since February 2012, having undergone liver surgery last year.
Earlier, Real Madrid looked well in control of their home clash with Real Betis when Karim Benzema made it 2-0 in the 57th minute to add to Mesut Ozil's opener on the stroke of half-time.
However, Jose Mourinho's men very nearly let that advantage slip with Betis pulling a goal back in the 71st minute through Jorge Molina's penalty before the Andalusian side hit the woodwork in the 87th minute through Ruben Castro.
That was a huge escape for Madrid and they made the most of it with Ozil - in his 150th competition match for the club - netting his second of the night late on with a close-range finish.
The win is just what Madrid would have been hoping for heading into a crucial 10 days which sees them play Borussia Dortmund home and away in the Champions League and also face bitter rivals Atletico in La Liga.
The win came at a cost though with Marcelo and Luka Modric both limping out of the game with injuries.
Valencia, who have finished third behind the big two of Madrid and Barca in each of the last three seasons, gave their Champions League hopes a huge boost with a 5-1 mauling of Malaga.
Four goals in six devastating first-half minutes from Dani Parejo, Roberto Soldado (two) and Sergio Canales set Los Che on their way and Ever Banega completed scoring after Julio Baptista had pulled a goal back for Malaga on the stroke of half-time from a free-kick
Valencia are now fifth, a point behind Real Sociedad and three points clear of Malaga in sixth.
In Saturday's other match Granada drew 1-1 at home with Real Valladolid, Patrick Ebert putting the visitors ahead in the 59th minute and Youssef El Arabi equalising 14 minutes later.
Saturday's La Liga Results