Barcelona lost home in the League for the first time in more than two years when Real Betis took a surprising 4-3 win on Sunday, although Lionel Messi scored twice on his return from the injury.
Barça suffered a loss in the league at the Camp Nou against Alaves in September 2016, but after 42 uninvited games, his career ended with a brilliant and counter-attack by Betis.
Three hours later, Real Madrid was giving the final shots to a 4-2 win at Celta Vigo, a result that hoped to win Santiago Solari as an extension of his mandate as a coach.
Real has already published four consecutive wins since Solari was placed in temporary positions, while the difference behind Barça was reduced to four points.
"It was excellent," said the director of the Madrid club, Emilio Butragueno. "We are very pleased with how things came about".
In his future, Solari said: "We will see. I do not usually plan too much forwards, but in principle, it's today tomorrow."
The defeat of Barça came despite the return of Messi, whose two goals, one from the penalty spot and one in depth at the time of the injury, showed little more than consolations.
"We are not going with the feeling that Betis was the best team," said Ernesto Valverde, coach. "I do not want to get any credit from our opponent but we could better counter them."
It was the first time that Messi scored twice and Barcelona lost, but they stayed at the top of the table, although three clubs only get stuck.
Atletico Madrid, facing the Metropolitan Wanda after international rest, Sevilla and Alavés lead the persecution.
Alaves beat Huesca 2-1 earlier on Sunday, while Sevilla won the score at Espanyol home, Wissam Ben Yedder prodding in a 89-minute winner.
"The top part of the table is fine, I will not deny it," said Valverde. "It should also help us understand that it is never easy to win."
Betis's reward for winning Barça is rising to 12. The band Quique Setien could recover the sumptuous and attacking soccer that gave them a sixth place in the last period but that, in full swing, they are still one of the most difficult opponents of Spain to stop.
"We were a brave team in every way," said former Spanish international Joaquín. "Winning at the Camp Nou requires concentration and doing it very well. We play a great game."
– Faster, sharper and hungry –
Betis seemed faster, sharper and hungry, while Barcelona midfielder was repeatedly open at rest.
They had five passes for the opener, the latter one of the first to drive from William Carvalho to free Junior Firpo from the left. He wove inside Sergi Roberto and hit hard on the net.
Barça had chances but the Betis soon deviated again, with Junior's cross evading everyone except Giovani Lo Celso on the opposite flank. His good rebound picked Joaquín, who stabbed in the second Betis.
Arturo Vidal replaced the famous Arthur Melo in the middle of the season and, in the 68th minute, Barça came up with Jordi Alba and Cristian Tello, and Messi turned the penalty into their eighth goal of the season.
But the recovery stuck three minutes later as Marc-Andre had Stegen left the firing of Lo Celso escaping by the fingers and fell rather far from 3-1.
Barça has not yet been done. Two substitutes combined for a second, Munir El Haddadi posing in Vidal but soon after the return began again, he was arrested.
In the first place, Ivan Rakitic was expelled, a second yellow card for a late challenge at Lo Celso, and then Sergio Canales played in the Betis quarter from Junior's cross. Messi added his second time in injuries, but there was no more drama.
The victory of Madrid was simpler, since Karim Benzema opened the scoreboard, a sublime touch and turns the space into a crisp finish instead.
Benzema's shot fired against Gustavo Cabral before the twelve volleyballs of Hugo Mallo who gave Celta's hope. Sergio Ramos, however, sent a final penalty, Cabral was expelled by a second yellow card and Dani Ceballos involved the points with an excellent long-range attack. Brais Mendez scored a second for Celta in injuries.
The only Solari spot was a series of injuries that saw Casemiro, Sergio Reguilon and Nacho forced. Gareth Bale also hit his left ankle in the first half but could continue.