Cristiano Ronaldo fired Real Madrid top of La Liga with a superb 14-minute hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Malaga as Barcelona were held 0-0 in a stormy encounter at home to Sevilla on Saturday.
Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring against Malaga and Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player, rattled in three more before the break to take Real's goal tally to 25 from their last six games in all competitions.
Barcelona were denied by an inspired performance from goalkeeper Javi Varas who crowned his display with a stoppage-time penalty save from Lionel Messi as his side finished with nine men at the Nou Camp.
Real climbed to 19 points from eight games, one ahead of Barca. Unbeaten Sevilla are fourth with 16 points and Malaga are sixth with 13.
Both Malaga and Real had penalty appeals waved away in a pulsating start at the Rosaleda, but the hosts were unable to stay the pace as Jose Mourinho's side ripped into them.
Higuain rounded the keeper to score after a clever pass behind the defence from his Argentina team mate Angel Di Maria and soon Ronaldo showed his magic with his three goals.