Atletico stay top after win in Bilbao, Bale nets in Madrid win, Messi penalty makes the difference

Koke hit the winner. Photo: PA

Atletico Madrid remained top of the Primera Division after coming from a goal behind to pull off a hard-fought 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao, who finished the game with 10 men when Aymeric Laporte was sent off late on.

Iker Muniain put the Basques ahead with just five minutes played but Diego Costa pulled Diego Simeone's side level midway through the first half, and Koke dived in to head in the winner in the second half, allowing Atletico to preserve their one-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table.

The result means that Atletico become just the second team to do the double on Athletic, as well as being responsible for two of the three times the Basques have lost at their new stadium San Mames Barria, adding to their 2-1 win in the Copa del Rey quarter finals in January.

But although it ended well for Los Rojiblancos, they were made to sweat for the three points, surviving two penalty scares in the second half, and once again were grateful to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for coming to their rescue.

Lionel Messi scored his third penalty in six days to give Barcelona a 1-0 win at local rivals Espanyol and boost their chances of retaining the Primera Division title.

With 14 minutes remaining of a difficult afternoon for Gerardo Martino's side, the prolific Argentina forward calmly sent his spot-kick the other side of Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who was then sent off for handling another shot from Messi outside his area.

Defender Javi Lopez, who had given away the penalty, went in goal for the remaining eight minutes, but Barca were unable to take further advantage and remain one point off the pace.

A late penalty from Nolito earned Celta Vigo a 1-0 victory over Sevilla which ended the visitors' six-match winning run in the league.

Unai Emery's side were on a high following a midweek success over Real Madrid, but Celta ended that euphoria with the successful spot-kick three minutes from time.

Gareth Bale scored twice as Real Madrid ended a dismal week with a comprehensive 5-0 derby victory over Rayo Vallecano at a rain-swept Bernabeu.

Losses to Barcelona and Sevilla over the past seven days had badly hit their title hopes, but Carlo Ancelotti's men got their campaign back on track in style.

Cristiano Ronaldo's early strike was all that separated the sides at the break, but Madrid cut loose in the second half with Bale netting his first goals in seven games while Daniel Carvajal and substitute Alvaro Morata were also on the mark.

The victory, which should have been even larger, keeps Madrid within three points of leaders Atletico and two behind Barca.