Real Madrid on brink of glory as Wednesday win will seal title for Mourinho's men
10:16 GMT, 30 April 2012
Real Madrid fans will hold their traditional title celebrations at the Cibeles fountain in the centre of the Spanish capital if Jose Mourinho's team beat Athletic Balbao on Wednesday night.
Real stayed on course for their first Primera Division crown in four years as they cantered to a 3-0 win over Sevilla.
But Barcelona's 7-0 win at Rayo Vallecano in the late kick-off means the title race will run at least into midweek, with Madrid still seven points clear of their arch-rivals with three games remaining.
Sitting pretty: Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are within touching distance of the Spanish title
Madrid will officially be crowned champions for the 32nd time if they defeat Bilbao in the 36th round of fixtures, regardless of the result of Barca's game against Malaga.
Madrid certainly looked in the mood to get the job done against Sevilla – even more so given the pain of their Champions League exit to Bayern Munich in midweek – and took the lead after 19 minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home his 57th goal of the season.
Sevilla then enjoyed a decent spell and passed up two glorious opportunities to equalise as Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo both fired over when one-on-one with Iker Casillas.
Any nerves among the hosts were settled quickly after the break as Karim Benzema (48 and 52) finished twice at the back post.
Goals galore: Ronaldo's strike against Sevilla was his 57th of the campaign
Barcelona took their frustrations out on poor Rayo after a dismal week that began with a damaging loss to Madrid, saw them exit the Champions League against Chelsea and then receive the shock news that coach Pep Guardiola would stand down at the end of the season.
Lionel Messi started and finished the scoring for the wounded Catalans, with Barca's other goals coming from a Pedro Rodriguez brace, Seydou Keita, Thiago and a Robert own goal.
Malaga moved level with Valencia in third as Nacho Camacho's first-half header secured a 1-0 win at La Rosaleda.
Back on track: Barcelona returned to winning ways by thumping Rayo Vallecano
Camacho netted the only goal with a towering header from Jesus Gamez's cross just before the half-hour mark.
Things got even worse for Valencia when Sofiane Feghouli was dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour. Radamel Falcao struck a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a point for Atletico Madrid in a 2-2 draw at Real Betis.
Atletico took a 63rd-minute lead through substitute Jorge Koke but Betis looked to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when their own replacements Alejandro Pozuelo (86) and Jonathan Pereira (88) netted in quick succession to put the hosts 2-1 up.
However, there was to be another late twist in the tale when, from a corner four minutes into injury time, Falcao headed home from close range to level the game up.
In Sunday's other game, Real Zaragoza kept alive their chances of survival with a deserved 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao thanks to goals in either half from Edu Oriol and Apono.