Real Madrid moved four points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring either side of a Gareth Bale strike in a 3-0 win at Getafe on Sunday.
It was hardly a vintage performance from the European champions, who have stumbled at the start of 2015 and were knocked out of the King's Cup by Atletico Madrid on Thursday, and they failed to score in the first half of a La Liga game for the first time this season.
Toni Kroos had rattled the crossbar moments before the break on a chilly afternoon at the Coliseum and Ronaldo finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute, clipping the ball in from close range after excellent work from Karim Benzema.
Bale made it 2-0 four minutes later when he finished cleverly after a swift break and Ronaldo grabbed his second 11 minutes from time with a powerful header, the Portugal forward’s 28th goal of the campaign in his 17th appearance.
Getafe battled bravely against their glamorous city neighbours, with goalkeeper Jordi Codina on fine form, and almost pulled a goal back four minutes from time but a shot from Alvaro Vazquez bounced away off a post.
Real, who have a game in hand, have 45 points from 18 matches, with Barca on 41 ahead of their clash at Deportivo La Coruna later on Sunday.
Fatigue has been suggested as one reason for Real's recent stutter but Iker Casillas said Carlo Ancelotti's men were not feeling the effects of a packed calendar.
"We are not tired but after a week of holiday it is tough to get back to the routine," the Spain keeper told Spanish television.
"Unfortunately we lost in the Cup, where we were the holders, but there are no excuses," he added.
"Now we can prepare better for the matches and train harder. It's been a good first half of the season."
Valencia and champions Atletico, who host bottom side Granada on Sunday, are level on 38 points in third and fourth respectively, with Valencia ahead on goal difference after Saturday’s 3-2 win at home to Almeria.