Real edge past Rayo in Madrid derby
It takes a lot to overshadow the performance of Cristiano Ronaldo -- especially given his recent form.
After his midweek all-action showing against former employer Manchester United and a goal which had experts running out of superlatives, the Real Madrid man had a much quieter night.
Instead, it was left to teammate Sergio Ramos to take the headlines as Real took on local rival Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu.
Leading 1-0 through young striker Morata, Ramos headed home to extend his side's advantage on 12 minutes for his first contribution of the evening.
His next, however, was not so clever. A foul on Roberto Trashorras earned him a yellow card and just 45 seconds later, he was shown a second for handball.
Off he trudged with 18 minutes on the clock, a goal, two yellow cards and an early bath.
While receiving two bookings within 45 seconds is unusual, Ramos' dismissal is anything but.
The Spain international has been sent off 17 times in his career, 16 of those coming at Real with the other at former club Sevilla.
His 12th red card in La Liga left Real with work to do, but with a two goal cushion already in hand, it easily held out to claim a 2-0 victory.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid bounced back from its Europa League disappointment with a 3-0 win at Real Valladolid.
Radamel Falcao scored his 20th league goal of the season with Diego Costa and Cristian Rodriguez also on target.
Those three points keeps Atletico 12 points behind leader Barcelona and four clear of Real going into matchday 25.
Valencia moved up to fifth with a 2-0 win over Mallorca, while Espanyol defeated Real Betis 1-0 and Real Sociedad was held to a 1-1 draw by Levante.
In England, Chelsea booked its place in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the country's historic domestic knockout competition.
Rafael Benitez's side defeated third-tier Brentford 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in a replay following a 2-2 draw in the previous game.
Chelsea will now face second-tier side Middlesbrough with the winners of that game going on to play either Manchester United or Reading.
Manchester City saw off second-tier side Leeds United 4-0 to reach the quarterfinals, while Wigan also progressed after a 4-1 win at Huddersfield.
In the only Premier League game of the day, Liverpool thrashed Swansea 5-0 to move into seventh.
In Italy, Fiorentina produced the performance of the day by crushing Inter 4-1.
Two goals each from Adem Ljajic and Stevan Jovetic gave the Viola all three points with Antonio Cassano registering a late consolation for the visitor.
The win moves Fiorentina up to sixth, just a point behind fifth placed Inter.
Napoli's quest to move to within two points of league leader Juventus suffered a blow after it was held to a goalless draw by Sampdoria.
After a shock 3-0 home defeat in the Europa League by Czech side Viktoria Plzen on Thursday, Napoli had hoped to bounce back immediately.
With Juventus losing to Roma on Saturday, Walter Mazzarri's side had the perfect opportunity to get back on track at the San Paolo.
But it failed to find a way through a stubborn Sampdoria defense and now sits four points off the lead.
"This is not good enough," Mazzarri told reporters.
"If we want to be up there challenging we need more. We need consistency, it makes me angry when he show up and have these unexplainable performances."
Elsewhere, Catania moved up to seventh and within sight of a Europa League place with a 1-0 home over Bologna.
Valter Birsa's 87th-minute winner handed Torino a 2-1 victory over Atalanta, while Juraj Kucka's 33rd-minute goal was enough to see Genoa creep further away from the drop zone with a 1-0 win over Udinese.
A Marco Sau double for Cagliari assured a 2-0 win away to new boys Pescara and moved the Sardinians up to 14th.
In France, Paris Saint-Germain saw its lead at the top trimmed to just three points after it suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at Sochaux.
Without David Beckham, who is expected to make his debut in next weekend's clash with Marseille, PSG took a 29th minute lead through Alex.
Sochaux hit back to lead 2-1 with 54 minutes on the clock before an own-goal brought PSG level with 14 minutes remaining.
But with the game seemingly heading for a draw, Cedric Bakambu popped up to lash home a shock winner and leave PSG shattered.
Lyon remains in second place following a crushing 4-0 win at Bordeaux, while Reims and Saint-Etienne shared a 1-1 draw.
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