Real Madrid 4-2 Villarreal
Gareth Bale scored the opening goal as Real Madrid beat Villarreal to go top of La Liga.
The Welshman chipped home after seven minutes and assisted Karim Benzema's close-range second.
Mario Gaspar pulled one back with a fierce first-time drive but Jese put Real Madrid in control with a delicate finish.
Giovani Dos Santos scored a brilliant free-kick for the visitors but Benzema sealed it from 18 yards.
Real Madrid, who were without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, are now unbeaten in 23 games in all competitions.
And they lead the Spanish league on goal difference after rivals Atletico Madrid lost 2-0 to Almeria. Barcelona, who visit Sevilla on Sunday, could overtake both sides on goal difference with a victory.
Ronaldo's replacement in the team, Bale, took only seven minutes to make his mark when he took the ball off dawdling defender Jose Antonio Dorado to charge into the box and lift the ball over keeper Sergio Asenjo.
He then put in a cross for Benzema, which the France international tucked home at the near post.
Right-back Mario fired past Diego Lopez late in the first half to give the Yellow Submarine hope.
Real re-established their two-goal lead when Angel Di Maria played in 20-year-old Jese, who touched the ball past Asenjo to score for the fourth game in a row.
Giovani curled home a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards out but Benzema clinched the victory from the edge of the box after Jese had laid the ball off to him.
- 12MarceloSubstituted forFábio Coentrãoat 18'minutesSubstituted forArbeloaat 45'minutes
- 22Di MaríaSubstituted forAlonsoat 68'minutes
- 5Fábio Coentrão
- 2Perez MartinezBooked at 59mins
- 18Costa JordáBooked at 54mins
- 28Ramos GómezSubstituted forTrigueros Muñozat 58'minutes
- 16Dorado Ramírez
- 21Soriano Llido
- 9dos Santos
- 24PereiraSubstituted forPerbetat 68'minutes
- 27Gómez BardonadoSubstituted forRomán Olléat 63'minutes
- 12Román Ollé
- 14Trigueros Muñoz
- 35Fernández Abarisketa
- José Luis González González
- Shots on Target