Real Madrid took a small step to restoring their pride after last weekend’s derby thrashing by beating Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side made a nervous side to the game but took a 20th-minute lead through Isco, and then Karim Benzema sealed the points in the 73rd minute.
Madrid stay top of the Primera Division thanks to the win but this was far from an assured performance from the European champions, who were booed by their own supporters on several occasions.
Sevilla, meanwhile, ended a two-game losing streak in La Liga with a comfortable 3-0 derby win over struggling Cordoba.
Grzegorz Krychowiak headed in the opener from a corner on 39 minutes and then Carlos Bacca scored from close range just before half-time, and any hope of a Cordoba fightback in the second half soon vanished when Patrick Ekeng was shown a straight red card for striking out at Vitolo.
Krychowiak was then also given his marching orders for a dangerous tackle, but Vicente Iborra’s headed goal put the game out of Cordoba’s sight a few minutes later.
Unai Emery’s side went into the match on the back of successive defeats to Real Madrid and Getafe, but returned to fourth place in La Liga with Valencia up against Getafe on Sunday, a point below Sevilla.
Athletic Bilbao missed a chance to move up the table as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Granada, who climbed off the bottom above Cordoba.
Bilbao, who are 12th, failed to find a goal even after Granada had Emanuel Insua sent off in the 68th minute.