Hoping to profit from Barcelona’s 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijón on Saturday, Madrid was rocked early when Casillas was sent off for bringing down José Callejón outside the area. Despite the early blow, the visitors held firm and secured all three points thanks to Marcelo’s finish from a tight angle after 24 minutes.
There was disappointment for Villarreal as they failed to haul themselves back up to third. Two points behind Valencia, Villarreal lost 1-0 at Deportivo Coruna, Alberto Lopo making the difference for the hosts with an hour gone.
Elsewhere, seventh-placed Getafe conceded a 95th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at bottom club Málaga, while Levante clambered out of the relegation zone thanks to a 1-0 success against second-bottom Almería. Osasuna slipped into danger in their place, finally, following their 1-0 loss at Real Sociedad.