Real Madrid overcame an early blow and were made to toil after half-time for a 3-1 LaLiga win at Leganes.
The victory moves Zinedine Zidane's reigning champions up to third in the table above Valencia, although the hosts struck first as defender Unai Bustinza claimed his first senior goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo was given the night off by Zidane and, with Gareth Bale starting on the bench, Casemiro assumed the unlikely role of being Madrid's creative driving force.
The Brazilian midfielder created the 11th-minute equaliser as Spain winger Lucas Vazquez continued his impressive recent form and converted a glorious winner before the half hour.
Madrid shipped three goals in Sunday's win at Real Betis but Zidane was grateful to see Sergio Ramos marshalling a more robust backline as 13th-placed Leganes probed without reward during the second period, and the Madrid captain made sure of victory by coolly dispatching a penalty in the final minute.
The European champions are still seven points shy of Atletico Madrid in second and 14 behind leaders Barcelona.
1 - Casemiro has both scored and assisted in a same game for Real Madrid for the first time ever in all competitions. Crucial. pic.twitter.com/meLBxRRyaN— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 21, 2018
Despite the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marcelo being out through injury, Zidane still elected to rest Ronaldo and first-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Madrid made a lackadaisical start and Navas' replacement Kiko Casilla was picking the ball out of his net in the sixth minute.
Gabriel Pires flicked on a left-wing corner at the near post and, after seeing his initial attempt saved, Bustinza flung himself towards the ball, taking Theo Hernandez's clearance on the top of his head to net an unusual diving header.
Madrid's response was impressively swift, with Casemiro intercepting a poor clearance and feeding Karim Benzema before improvising a flick from Mateo Kovacic's pass that allowed Lucas to clip a precise finish across Ivan Cuellar.
Casemiro was again at the heart of things when Madrid took a 29th-minute lead – this time providing the finishing touch himself after exchanging passes with Benzema and accepting Lucas' assist to crown a glorious one-touch move.
Madrid were comfortably on top as the half wound down, with Benzema almost heading a third from Lucas' cross.
Leganes impressively got themselves back on the front foot during the early stages of the second half – Asier Garitano's double switch, sending on Ruben Perez and Martin Mantovani in place of Dimitrios Siovas and Gerard Gumbau, rewarded with a spirited showing.
Tito slotted a pass down the Madrid left to Nabil El Zhar and Claudio Beauvue got on the end of his low cross to force a point-blank stop from Casilla.
El Zhar had a penalty claim following an untidy challenge from Kovacic rejected – the infringement did appear to take place fractionally outside the area – and Madrid continued to do more work in their own half than they would have liked.
Bale came on 15 minutes from time, curtailing an industrious and accomplished display from the much-maligned Benzema.
The Wales international almost picked out the bottom corner after springing the offside trap, but it was Ramos who grasped the ball and made no mistake when Diego Rico bundled Kovacic to the floor.
Key Opta facts:
- Casemiro has both scored and assisted in a same game for Real Madrid for the first time in all competitions.
- Lucas Vazquez is the player with most assists in LaLiga in 2018 (five), alongside Lionel Messi.
- Only Cristiano Ronaldo (10 goals and 2 assists) has been involved in more goals for Real Madrid than Lucas Vazquez (4 goals, 6 assists) in 2018 in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have taken more penalties than any other LaLiga side this season in all competitions (12, 11 scored).
- Sergio Ramos has scored in three consecutive LaLiga away games (three goals) for the second time, the first since September-Octtober 2007.
- Real Madrid conceded their fastest goal in LaLiga this season (five minutes and four seconds).
|Valverde not worried about Barcelona legacy|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Bale is happy at Real Madrid, says Zidane|
|Spalletti seeks consistency as Inter prepare for final push|
|Absence of ´best in the world´ Busquets makes Rakitic key for Barca|
|I was out of the game - Halep offers no excuses for Osaka shock|
|Tigers spoil Slater´s 300th NRL game, wins for Penrith and Warriors|
|A-League Review: Sydney stumble again as Jets close gap|
|Highlanders claim derby win over Crusaders, Brumbies beat Sharks|
|Dreadshock! Neymar reveals new hairdo|
|Shakib and Nurul sanctioned for unruly Colombo conduct|
|Villarreal defender Semedo denied bail on attempted murder charge|
|Boots up! - Pietersen career seemingly over|
|Messi: I´m a less selfish player|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Williams|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Renault|
|Thunder claim key win, injury-ravaged Warriors fall to Kings|
|Japanese sensation Osaka blitzes Halep en route to decider|
|Giant-slaying Kasatkina upstages Venus to reach Indian Wells final|
|Coaching Italy would be extraordinary – Mancini|
|J.J. Watt breaks news of Tyrann Mathieu´s deal with Texans|
|Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount joins Lions|
|Intensity key to Liverpool toppling Man City, says Klopp|
|Warriors star Durant to miss at least two weeks with rib injury|
|Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for calling officiating ´complete joke´|
|Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree to three-year deal|
|Tiger stumbles as Stenson and DeChambeau move clear|
|Tiger Woods: I just tried not to shoot myself out of tournament|
|Del Potro to meet Raonic in semis|
|People listen to idiots - Mourinho cites ´dictionary of life´ in extraordinary rant|
|Mourinho tells struggling Manchester United stars to ´grow up´|
|Woods seven off Bay Hill lead after level-par second round|
|Real Madrid links ´massage the ego´ of Roma goalkeeper Alisson|
|Defending champions Rhinos end Saints´ unbeaten start|
|Pele impressed by Tite´s ability to cope with Brazil´s modern challenges|
|Duhan at the double to boost Edinburgh´s playoff hopes|
|FIFA Council approves open vote for 2026 World Cup|
|McIlroy in love with golf again ahead of Augusta challenge|
|Vikings sign DT Sheldon Richardson|
|FIFA approves VAR use at World Cup|
|Sampaoli ignores Icardi and Dybala, adds Correa to Argentina squad|
|Vikings celebrate Cousins capture as AFC lags behind in NFL ´arms´ race|
|Neymar to Real Madrid? Ask Florentino Perez, says Emery|
|Pogba not as good as Kondogbia - Valencia boss Marcelino|
|Buffon: Most determined team will win Juventus-Madrid tie|
|Inter target Martinez likened to Aguero by Crespo|
|Dortmund boss Stoger defends Gotze criticism|
|Chaos in Colombo as Mahmudullah blasts Tigers into final|
|Filipe Luis relishes overcoming ´obstacle´ as broken leg rules him out for two months|
|Blind cut from Koeman´s first Netherlands squad|
|Australia aim to find an answer to counter ´fantastic´ De Villiers|
|Stenson & DeChambeau tied for Arnold Palmer Invitational lead|
|Huddersfield wrap up permanent Lossl deal|
|Liverpool versus City promises goals, Juve plot Madrid revenge - Champions League quarter-finals in|
|Sharapova to miss Miami with forearm injury|
|Valencia midfielder Coquelin suffers torn Achilles|
|I could be in a league that´s won before kick-off – The best quotes from Mourinho´s tirade|
|Pardew fights on after West Brom talks|
|Juanfran hamstring injury adds to Atletico Madrid´s problems|
|Bayern can expect ´fiery atmosphere´ at Leipzig, says Hasenhuttl|
|Ruining Ireland´s Grand Slam bid won´t be England´s focus - Moody|
|Hughes encouraged by Southampton start|
|Juventus not thinking about Real Madrid just yet, Allegri claims|
|Morata has good World Cup chance despite being dropped, Lopetegui confirms|
|Foul-mouthed Klopp fumes at Premier League scheduling around Man City tie|
|Heynckes: Bayern have no interest in Malcom|
|Stenson makes Bay Hill turn with two-shot lead|
|Butragueno wary of Juventus ahead of titanic Real Madrid tussle|
|Liverpool-City a dream draw for Man Utd fans - Klopp|
|Alun Wyn Jones unimpressed with Eddie Jones comments|