Casemiro scored his first goal for Real Madrid late on to clinch a 2-1 win over Las Palmas in a frenetic finish to the match at Gran Canaria on Sunday night.
Los Blancos led until the closing stages of the contest thanks to Sergio Ramos’ 25th-minute opener, but Willian Jose grabbed the equaliser for the hosts three minutes from time.
However, Casemiro popped up in the six-yard box in the final minute to head home Jese’s corner and secure a third successive victory in La LIga for Zinedine Zidane’s side as they cemented third place in the standings.
The visitors took the lead through Ramos midway through the first half, the defender getting on the end of Isco’s corner and steering his header past Los Amarillos Javi Varas from eight yards out.
The home team had their chances to equalise, with David Garcia’s header on 58 minutes forcing a save out of Keylor Navas, who then denied Nili from just inside the area seven minutes later.
But they eventually hit back at the death when Jose guided Momo’s pass into the bottom-left corner of the net from the edge of the six-yard box, although parity lasted less than two minutes as Casemiro connected with Jese’s corner to steer a downward header into the goal.
Elsewhere, Sevilla kept their Champions League hopes alive with a 4-2 victory over fellow European contenders Villarreal at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Vicente Iborra gave the hosts a 24th-minute lead but they were pegged back six minutes later by Cedric Bakambu’s equaliser before the DR Congo forward fired the Yellow Submarine in front eight minutes before half-time.
However, Victor Ruiz turned Yevhen Konoplyanka’s cross into his own net on 51 minutes to restore parity for Los Rojiblancos, who then retook the lead 14 minutes later through a brilliant 35-yard strike from the Ukraine winger.
Even the 79th-minute dismissal of Ever Banega for two yellow cards failed to turn the tide as Jose Antonio Reyes wrapped up the win in stoppage time as the fifth-placed Andalusians closed to within five points of Marcelino’s side in fourth.
Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao moved into the European places courtesy of their 3-1 win over Real Betis at San Mames.
Los Leones were firmly in control of the contest by the start of the second half thanks to Sabin Merino’s brace (34′, 50′) and a goal from Mikel Rico (44′), with Ruben Castro grabbing a late consolation for Betis five minutes from time.
The Basque outfit climbed up to sixth in the standings, six points adrift of the Champions League places, while Juan Merino’s men finished the weekend in 11th spot.
Earlier in the day, Levante kept their survival hopes alive after beating local rivals Valencia 1-0 at Ciutat de Valencia, courtesy of Giuseppe Rossi’s 65th-minute goal.
Rossi, who hit the post in the first half, capitalised on poor defending from the visitors following a throw-in and volleyed home from 10 yards out to clinch a first win in four games for Les Granotes, who remain rock-bottom of the standings, but moved level with 19th-placed Sporting Gijon on 24 points.
Los Che, meanwhile, are 12th in the table, 11 points adrift of the European places after suffering their third defeat in four league matches.
Levante 1-0 Valencia
Sevilla 4-2 Villarreal
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Real Betis
Las Palmas 1-2 Real Madrid