Mesut Ozil scored twice to ensure Real Madrid will go into their UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund on the back of a La Liga 3-1 win over Real Betis.
German international Ozil broke the deadlock against Real Betis on the stroke of half-time and then wrapped up the scoring with his second right at the end. In between those two strikes, Karim Benzema had put Madrid 2-0 up before Betis pulled a goal back through Jorge Molina's 73rd-minute penalty. The victory is just what Madrid would have been hoping for heading into a crucial run of fixtures over the next ten days.
Cesc Fabregas' 84th-minute strike earned a below-par Barcelona a narrow 1-0 victory over Levante at the Nou Camp this evening to restore the Catalan club's 13-point advantage at the La Liga summit.
David Villa had seen a 16th-minute penalty saved by Keylor Navas, and that looked like it would prove a costly miss as Barça - perhaps with one eye on Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich - struggled to break down a spirited Levante defence before Fabregas' late breakthrough.
The win left Barcelona 13 points clear of second-placed Madrid and meant Tito Vilanova's side could win the La Liga title next weekend. Full-back Eric Abidal made his first start for Barca since February 2012, having undergone liver surgery last year, and looked an assured presence throughout the 90 minutes.
In the early La Liga match-up today, Granada moved a point clear of the relegation zone after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at home with Valladolid.
Patrick Ebert gave the visitors a surprise lead in the second half with a gloriously struck free-kick but Youssef El-Arabi levelled with 18 minutes remaining. The hosts were the better side throughout the 90 minutes and pushed for a late winner but were unable to beat the outstanding Valladolid goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez.
In the late La Liga match tonight, Valencia boosted their chances of clinching the fourth Champions League slot as a first-half destruction of Malaga helped them to a 5-1 win at the Mestalla.
Four goals in barely six minutes, including a brace from Roberto Soldado put Valencia in control before Ever Banega grabbed the fifth in the second-half after Julio Baptista had pulled one back for Malaga just before the break.