Leaders Barcelona survived red cards for Gerard Pique and Rafael Marquez to complete a 2-1 victory over Getafe on Saturday while Real Madrid kept pace with a 3-0 win at home to Espanyol.
Pique was sent off in the 25th minute for a wild challenge on Rafa Lopez. Marquez walked at the end after bundling over Kepa for a last-minute penalty scored by Roberto Soldado.
Lionel Messi scored in the seventh minute and Xavi netted in the 67th.
With unbeaten Barca maintaining a five-point lead over Real Madrid, the Madrid-based sports media have claimed in recent weeks that the Catalans get favourable treatment from referees. But Barca coach Pep Guardiola played down the red card issue. “It’s really bad for football that every week doubts are being cast,” Guardiola told reporters.
“Referees do their best and can make mistakes. It is such a great waste of time (to debate it) that it isn’t worth it.
“It’s as if Barcelona won six titles thanks to the referees.”
Brazil full back Alves injured his right calf in the warm-up before the match and will be out for three weeks.
The unbeaten champions moved on to 55 points from 21 games, and remained five ahead of second-placed Real, who swept aside Espanyol.
Sergio Ramos headed in from a freekick early on and Kaka doubled the lead in the 30th minute. Gonzalo Higuain returned from injury to grab a third at the end.
“We played well, things are going well for me and for Real Madrid,” said Kaka. “We just have to hope that Barcelona starts dropping points.”