Real Madrid ensured they will be the leaders of the Spanish championship entering next year with a 2-0 win over Osasuna on Sunday that sets them up for El Classico against Barcelona on Sunday.
It was the 60th anniversary of Real's Santiago Bernabeu stadium and Dutch international Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured a double celebration marking his 50th league appearance for Real with a goal. Compatriot Wesley Sneijder was also on target.
Real are now four points ahead of Barcelona going into the showdown at Camp Nou.
Real scored with their first opening on the quarter hour mark.
Sneijder whipped in a brilliant free-kick and van Nistelrooy was on hand to head home his 33rd league goal in 50 appearances.
Real have never lost in the league when van Nistelrooy has scored and he continues to be their good luck charm.
Brazilian Robinho went close for Real with a fine drive and then showed nimble footwork to help set up Sneijder's goal on 75 minutes.
The champions face Alicante in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday before the game against Barcelona.
The Catalans will be without the injured Lionel Messi, ruled out for five weeks with a thigh injury, but have won all eight league matches at home and looked formidable in their 3-0 demolition of Valencia on Saturday.
They were buoyed by seeing Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o confirming his return to full fitness with two of the goals.
Atletico Madrid saw their much-heralded attack blunted in a 0-0 draw with Recreativo Huelva as they missed the chance to turn the screw on their Champions League rivals.
Atletico stay third but Villarreal are now level on 31 points, seven behind Real, after Turkish international Nihat scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season to secure a 3-1 triumph at Getafe.
Elsewhere Sevilla, third in the last campaign, lost further ground on the European hopefuls with a 0-0 draw at Valladolid where they finished with nine men.
Sevilla's cause was not helped by the sending off of their Argentine center-back Fazio shortly after the interval. Sevilla's Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano also saw red late on.
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