Real Madrid cut the gap between them and Barcelona to 13 points with a morale boosting 2-1 win over the Catalans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Karim Benzema gave Los Blancos an early lead but Lionel Messi levelled just over 10 minutes later to become the joint-top scorer of all time in the Clasico.
Sergio Ramos headed in a corner to restore Madrid's lead with nine minutes remaining, and Victor Valdes was sent off on the final whistle for a second yellow card after arguing with referee Miguel Angel Perez Lasa.
Second-placed Atletico Madrid failed to fully capitalise on Barcelona's defeat as they were held to a goalless draw at Malaga on Sunday.
Los Rojiblancos could have cut the gap to single figures had they managed to overcome Malaga.
But the fourth-placed hosts proved tricky opposition and just about held their own to claim a point which kept their own Champions League aspirations on track.
Mallorca snatched a late 2-1 win at Granada to record their first Primera Division victory in 10 matches.
The hosts took an early lead through Nolito but Alfaro levelled not long after.
Granada had the greater number of chances throughout the match but a last-gasp headed goal by substitute Tomer Hemed gave the visitors all three points and their first win of 2013.
Dorlan Pabon scored twice as Real Betis held off Real Sociedad's fightback to take a 3-3 draw from a freewheeling encounter.
Jorge Molina gave Betis a half-time lead after Antoine Griezmann's brilliant strike was disallowed at the other end.
Pabon doubled the lead but Sociedad roared back with three goals in 11 minutes from Carlos Vela, Inigo Martinez and Xabi Prieto, the latter with a penalty.
But Pabon's second secured a deserved share of the spoils for Betis, who more than played their part in a thrilling match.
And Espanyol and Real Valladolid played out a dull goalless draw at the Cornella-El Prat in a game where excitement and chances were in short supply.
Valladolid got the point they would have wanted from the clash but Javier Aguirre's side would have left disappointed after previously picking up 16 points from a possible 18 home points since the Mexican replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the helm.
On Saturday, Jose Barkero scored with seconds remaining to earn Levante a 2-2 draw in their derby clash with Valencia.
The well-travelled midfielder's goal not only earned his side a point but also prevented Los Che from moving above Malaga into fourth place.
Instead they must settle for a share of fifth and will surely rue switching off after Jonas and Roberto Soldado had turned around Vicente Iborra's opener for Levante, who remained in mid-table.
Athletic Bilbao earned a much needed 1-0 victory over local rivals Osasuna to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
A volleyed goal by Markel Susaeta midway through the second half was enough to give Marcelo Bielsa's side the three points, but the Navarrans were superior for large periods of the match.
Deportivo La Coruna brought to an end their six-match losing streak but still remain deep in trouble at the foot of the table after being held 0-0 at home by Rayo Vallecano.
It might have been even worse for the Galician side after they found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half and then reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when veteran defender Carlos Marchena was sent off.
However, there was not enough time for Rayo to make the most of their extra man as the points were shared at the Riazor.
The result leaves Depor eight points adrift of Real Zaragoza and safety, while Rayo move back into eighth place.
On Friday night, Getafe boosted their chances of claiming a European place at the end of the season after seeing off struggling Real Zaragoza 2-0.
Adrian Colunga put Getafe ahead in the 22nd minute and Sergio Escudero doubled the lead in the 61st minute with a heavily deflected free-kick following a handball from Glenn Loovens that earned the Zaragoza defender a second yellow card.
Getafe also finished the match with 10 men as Pedro Leon was booked twice in a minute soon after his side's second goal, but the hosts were largely untroubled in the final half-hour as they earned a third successive win.