Gareth Bale was back on the scoresheet as Real Madrid warmed up for next week's vital Clasico with a 2-0 win over Levante.
Bale had come in for more criticism than most from the Real fans following the midweek Champions League loss to Schalke but he volleyed home to open the scoring and then deflected Cristiano Ronaldo's shot home just before the break.
Real will now travel to the Nou Camp just one point behind Primera Division leaders Barca for a game that will go a long way towards deciding the destiny of the title.
There were just four minutes on the clock when Bale flicked the ball over the Levante defence to Karim Benzema, who squared for Ronaldo but the Portuguese hit the base of a post from 12 yards.
Real were dominating possession but Levante were keeping them at bay, with Ronaldo visibly frustrated as he hit a free-kick into the wall.
The hosts did have the ball in the net as Benzema tucked home a rebound from Luka Modric's piledriver but the Frenchman was a good distance offside.
Bale then saw a header from a corner well saved by Diego Marino but the under-fire Welshman got his goal in the 18th minute. Benzema's cross was acrobatically volleyed towards goal by Ronaldo and while that effort was cleared off the line, Bale was on hand to volley home the rebound for his first league goal in eight games.
Not that an out-of-sorts Ronaldo looked pleased for his team-mate, angrily gesticulating as the rest of the Real players celebrated.
Madrid were utterly dominant and looked certain to get a second as Bale crossed for Ronaldo six yards out but Tono got a foot in front of him to deflect behind.
Levante did get into the game but never looked like scoring and Bale had his second five minutes before the break, although he may not have known a great deal about it.
Modric used the outside of his boot to put a free-kick into the path of Dani Carvajal and he played the ball back to Ronaldo whose shot took a deflection off Bale on the edge of the six-yard box as it went in.
Real continued to have the better of it after the break but it was a fairly run-of-the-mill affair until Benzema nearly scored with a spectacular effort.
Bale's cross was slightly behind the former Lyon striker on the edge of the six-yard box but he managed to volley the ball towards goal with his heel only to see it come back off the crossbar.
The home side continued to press with Marino making smart saves from Bale and Ronaldo but both sides looked to be going through the motions as Real eased to victory.