Madrid looked set for their third league defeat of the season after two headed goals from Oriol Riera put Osasuna 2-0 ahead inside 39 minutes.
Real’s task became even tougher when Sergio Ramos was sent-off for two bookable offences moments later, but Isco halved the deficit a minute before the break to give Madrid hope.
Despite being in desperate need of a goal, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti substituted the in-form Bale just ten minutes into the second period.
But after Osasuna were also reduced to 10 men following Francisco Silva’s dismissal, Pepe headed home an equaliser ten minutes from time.
Oriol Riera’s first-half double left the visitors reeling, as did Sergio Ramos’s second yellow card on 44 minutes, but Isco halved the deficit by sneaking a shot into the corner moments later. Francisco Silva was then sent off for the hosts on 79 minutes, and Madrid levelled almost immediately through Pepe.
Beaten at Athletic Club in their last league outing, Barcelona were inspired to a 2-1 win against Villarreal by a pair of Neymar goals. The Brazilian hit a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 6-1 UEFA Champions League win against Celtic and continued his fine form, opening his tally from the penalty spot after Mario Gaspar had handled.
Mateo Musacchio brought things level shortly after the restart, but Neymar tapped in from Alexis Sánchez’s cross on 68 minutes to win it.
Neymar has taken over from the injured Messi role at Barcelona, and their season would look very different if they had not signed him this summer, He is in brilliant form at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how he holds up over the whole season and how fresh he will be for the World Cup next summer.
In Saturday’s other La Liga action, Granada won on the road at Rayo Vallecano thanks to goals from Fran Rico and Riki on either side of the half.
A lone goal from Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz was enough to give Malaga a much-needed 1-0 victory at home to Getafe in the day’s final match.