Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Cristiano Ronaldo's absence on Saturday proved to be a moot point as Real Madrid overturned an early deficit to collect three points from a 4-1 defeat of Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.
The Portuguese star was unavailable for selection due to suspension, and it appeared as though his services would be needed after Aritz Elustondo nodded home a corner kick in the opening minute to give visiting Sociedad the lead.
But the hosts cruised the rest of the way, equalizing two minutes later with a headed goal of their own as James Rodriguez got on the end of Marcelo's chip into the box and guided the delivery into the upper corner.
Sergio Ramos handed Real Madrid the lead in the 37th minute when he occupied an advanced position and slammed home a rebound from Karim Benzema's shot.
Benzema then got in on the act in the second period, scoring twice to put the final result on ice.
The Frenchman made it three in the 52nd minute after working a give-and-go with Gareth Bale, taking the return pass and sliding it into an empty net.
The dagger was the pick of the lot as Benzema ran on to a soft pass from Isco in the 76th minute and curled a sensational first-time effort into the upper corner.
The commanding victory sees Real Madrid improve to 51 points to stay atop the La Liga table. Real Sociedad, meanwhile, stays put on 22 points.
Atletico Madrid kept pace with Real Madrid by earning a 3-1 victory at Eibar on Saturday.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring for Atletico in the seventh minute while a brace from Mario Mandzukic put the visitors in a comfortable position.
Federico Piovaccari pulled one back for Eibar in the 89th minute, but it was merely a consolation goal as Atletico climbs level with second-place Barcelona on 47 points apiece.
Also on Saturday, Jhon Cordoba produced the lone goal in Granada's 1-0 defeat of 10-man Elche and Nolito bagged the only strike in Celta Vigo's 1-0 victory over Cordoba.