MADRID, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid opened up a three point lead at the top of the BBVA Primera Liga after a dramatic day of football on Saturday in Spain.
Real Madrid's 3-0 win at home to Elche, coupled with Barca's 3-1 defeat away to Real Sociedad sees Real Madrid leapfrog Barca and open up a three point lead over the reigning champions and Atletico Madrid, who play in Pamplona on Sunday.
Real Madrid had few problems in what was a routine win over Elche, although the points were not secured until 18 minutes from time when Gareth Bale scored a stunning 30 yard shot to make the score 2-0.
A deflected shot from Asier Illaramendi had given Madrid the lead after 34 minutes and after Bale had secured the points in a game in which Madrid keeper, Diego Lopez was hardly called into action, Isco rounded off the win with a solo goal 10 minutes from time.
Barca kicked off knowing they needed a win in order to retain their leadership, but they were always second best to a magnificently organized Real Sociedad, who played intelligent football and used the pace of Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann to win the game.
The Basques opened the scoring after Alex Song turned a Sergio Canales cross into his own net under pressure from Gorka Elustondo, before Leo Messi scored a smart goal from the edge of the penalty area to take the sides in level at the break.
If Barca thought they would go on to win the second half they were mistaken as first Griezmann and then David Zurutuza punished some slack defending with excellent finishes on the break.
Barca had half and hour to try and get back on level terms after Zurutuza made it 3-1, but the fact is Real Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo did not have to make a difficult save between the final goal and the end of the game.
Saturday also saw Celta and Getafe draw 1-1 with Rafinha cancelling out Angel Lafita's opening goal for Getafe, who have not won a game since the end of November, while Almeria and Malaga drew 0-0.