Madrid: Real Madrid moved back to the top of the La Liga football championship with a 2-1 win over Real Betis, as FC Barcelona slipped to the second spot following a 1-2 defeat away against Deportivo la Coruna.

Real Madrid on Sunday benefitted from Barcelona's loss but not before they were made to work hard by Betis who first took the lead through Antonio Sanabria, following an error from Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

The goalkeeper earlier in the game should have been sent off for a clear foul when he was the last man, reports Xinhua news agency.

Cristiano Ronaldo equalised with one of his few contributions to the game, before Sergio Ramos sealed the win with another late header in the 83rd minute.

Following the win, Real Madrid have 62 points from 26 matches. They are two points ahead of Barcelona, who have played a game more than the capital club.

"The opposition played in their own half, they defended well and caused us problems on the counter-attack. We're happy with the result and we must congratulate the players because it wasn't easy. The pressure is there, it doesn't end here, there's still a lot to play for and we know that," Real coach Zinedine Zidane told his club's website.

Barcelona went into Sunday's game in the wake of their 6-1 win at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League, but played without Neymar, and fell behind to a 40th minute goal to Joselu.

Luis Suarez drew Barcelona level quickly after the break, but Alex Bergantinos, making a rare start for Deportivo, netted the winner with 16 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad were beaten 0-2 at home against Athletic Club Bilbao in the Basque derby.

In a game played in continual rain, Athletic opened the scoring through a 28th minute Raul Garcia penalty and Inaki Williams doubled their lead in the 55th minute following a mix-up in the Real Sociedad defence.

In other action, Roberto Soldado's solitary goal was enough to give Villarreal a 1-0 win away to Celta Vigo.

Michel Gonzalez's debut as Malaga coach ended in defeat at home to Alaves in a game Malaga deserved to win, but were denied by the saves of visiting keeper, Fernando Pacheco and goals from Zou Feddal at the end of the first half.

Malaga got a well-deserved equaliser through Juan Carlos and looked to win after Feddal was sent off, but Edgar Mendez scored a second goal for the side against the run of play to seal an unlikely win in injury time.