Two Cristiano Ronaldo penalties and an early red card for Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois helped the Spanish league leaders to a derby victory.
Adrian Lopez had given the visitors hope they might end a 12-year wait for a win over their neighbours with a goal after 15 minutes, but their joy was short lived. In the 22nd minute, Belgian Courtois brought down Karim Benzema in the area and was sent off with Ronaldo netting from the spot.
Angel Di Maria put the hosts in front soon after the re-start, and Gonzalo Higuain profited from a misunderstanding in the Atletico defence to pop a third into an empty net. Atletico defender Diego Godin’s 82nd-minute red card – for a foul on Higuain – left his side with nine men and allowed Ronaldo to wrap up the scoring with a second spot-kick, his 16th goal of the campaign.
After their game later on, Barcelona found themselves six points behind Real as a result of a 1-0 defeat at Getafe. Right-back Juan Valera got the only goal with a header from a corner in the 67th minute.
Earlier, Valencia kept up their pursuit of the leaders with a 2-1 win at promoted Rayo Vallecano.