Atletico Madrid made it ten wins out of ten at home this season with an easy 2-0 victory over Zaragoza that puts them eight points behind Barcelona ahead of the leaders game at Malaga on Sunday.
Portuguese midfielder Tiago Cardoso got the opener before Radamel Falcao hit a penalty, both in the first-period.
The win means Atletico stretch their lead over their city rivals Real Madrid in third place to seven points.
Atletico controlled the game from start to finish and their early pressure finally paid off on 31 minutes when Tiago powerfully headed home a Gabi corner at the near post to break the deadlock.
Five minutes later from a similar move Miranda almost doubled the lead, this time appearing at the far post as Gabi crossed a longer ball, but the defender failed to hit the target from close range.
However, Atletico were completely on top and the lead was doubled a minute later when Falcao blasted home from the penalty spot after Arda Turan's surging run was halted by Zaragoza's Rumanian full-back Cristian Sapanaru.
That makes it nineteen goals for the season for the Colombian, who has recently been linked with a move away from the club.
Apono had a shot well saved by Thibaut Courtois in the Atletico goal midway through the second period as the away team managed to curb Atletico's attacking instincts.
Also on Sunday, Betis moved temporarily into fourth position and a Champions League berth ahead of Malaga's game with Barcelona with a 2-0 win at home to Levante.
Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell, on-loan for the season from Arsenal, hit the first on seven minutes before Ruben Castro wrapped up the win on 63 minutes with a clever turn and drive for his eleventh league goal of the season.
Deportivo La Coruna held on with only ten men for an important 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad that keeps the Galician side off the bottom of the table.
They went ahead with a Pizzi goal midway through the first period but Carlos Vela equalised for Sociedad with a well hit curled shot just before the break.
Deportivo had full-back Evaldo dismissed for a second yellow card with almost 30 minutes remaining but were worth the point in a game they nearly won at the death with a Nelson Oliveira shot that looped just over the bar.