By Paul Giblin
MADRID, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid defeated local rivals Rayo Vallecano 2-0 this Sunday night in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Two goals in the first 15 minutes by Alvaro Morata and Sergio Ramos gave Madrid the points in a strange game where Madrid had to play with a player less for a large part of the game after Ramos was harshly sent off for two yellow cards in just over a minute.
Morata was a surprise inclusion in the side ahead of Karim Benzema, but justified his inclusion with a goal after just two minutes as he was able to sidefoot the ball into an empty net.
Ramos doubled his side's lead with a 12th minute header, but then complicated things for his side with his sending off, although he was unfortunate to see a second yellow car for a handball, which while clear, was probably unintentional.
Jose Mourinho then took off Morata to bring on Raul Albiol and the game was virtually over as a spectacle given that Rayo never looked like scoring.
Atletico Madrid took their first away win in three months thanks to a comfortable 3-0 triumph in Valladolid.
Radamel Falcao and former Valladolid striker Diego Costa scored the goals which keep Atletico 12 points behind league leaders FC Barcelona, while Cebolla Rodriguez added a third in the last minute.
Saturday saw Leo Messi scored his 300th and 301st goals for FC Barcelona as his side came back from a goal down to defeat a hard-working Granada side 2-1.
Granada had taken the lead through an Ighalo goal, which was probably slightly offside, but Messi made it 14 consecutive league matches in which he has scored, following in for a tap on following a Cesc Fabrigas shot before sealing the win with a magnificent free kick.
Real Sociedad's charge towards a top six placing was stopped by a 1-1 draw at home to Levante, who played for 35 minutes with a player less after Nikos Karabelas was sent off for two yellow cards.
It is the eighth successive game that Real Sociedad have played against 10 men, but they couldn't take advantage as Michel canceled out Carlos Vela's opening goal for the Basques.
Valencia also enjoyed a good day with a 2-0 win at home to second from bottom Mallorca despite having to play for over an hour with a player less after Tino Costa was sent off for aggression in the first half.
However, second half strikes from Ricardo Costa, who scored a powerful header, and Roberto Soldado meant the points stayed in Valencia while Mallorca remain rooted in the relegation zone.
Malaga continue battling for a top four place thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Athletic Club Bilbao. Javier Saviola scored the only goal of the game, and Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero stopped everything that was thrown at him by an Athletic side, which deserved at least a draw.
Osasuna's climb away from the danger zone continued with a 1-0 at home to Zaragoza, who have yet to win in 2013 and who are now in real trouble themselves. Kike Sola scored the only goal of the game after just five minutes.
Meanwhile Celta Vigo are in freefall after losing 3-1 away to Getafe. Adrian Colunga, Diego Castro and Fede Fernandez scored for Getafe, while Celta coach, Paco Herrera was highly critical of striker, Iago Aspes after the game.
The round of matches kicked off on Friday night as Sevilla had few problems in defeating Deportivo la Coruna 3-1 to leave Deportivo bottom of the table and ruin Fernando Vazquez's return to a Primera Liga dugout for the first time in five years.