Real Madrid defeat Levante, pull back on top of La Liga
MAR 09, 2014 4:55p ET
Carlo Ancelotti's men watched on Saturday as Atletico won at Celta Vigo to return to level points with them, before responding with a three-goal win.
Cristiano Ronaldo got them going before the break, with Marcelo and an own goal from Nikos rounding things off in the second half.
The win also means they are four points clear of defending champions Barcelona and surely have to be considered the favorite of the three sides chasing the title.
They gave that impression in this clash as they barely gave Levante a kick.
Ronaldo had already gone close early on - volleying at Keylor Navas - when he opened things up in the 11th minute.
Angel Di Maria's corner was not the striker's to win but he found some extra height to get above the markers and head in.
Gareth Bale then tried to get in on the act, running and shooting wide, before Levante saw a penalty appeal turned down as Diego Lopez - flapping after a cross - collided with Pedro Lopez.
Dominating possession to almost 80 percent, Real continued to go forward and made it 2-0 after the break as Marcelo cut in from the left to finish with 49 minutes gone.
Levante's cause was not helped by David Navarro getting his marching orders in the 64th minute, his crude lunge on Ronaldo from behind not going unnoticed.
Karim Benzema then headed against the bar before being denied on three separate occasions by Navas, although Marcelo's 81st-minute cross was inexplicably swept into his own goal by Nikos, with no player around him at the back post.
After that Ronaldo hit the bar with a header and Bale shot wide again, but the damage was long since done.