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).
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|
|Martial agent clouds long-term future after United trigger extension|
|Zverev to make major final in 2019, predicts Ferrero|
|Canelo, Crawford, Lomachenko and the other pound-for-pound contenders|
|Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty|
|Club World Cup: Maverick Quintero gets another chance on the big stage|
|Henderson to miss majority of Ireland´s Six Nations campaign|
|Gentner to play on despite father´s death|
|Just good banter – Australia and India not concerned by Paine-Kohli exchange|
|Titans CB Logan Ryan out for season with broken leg|
|Suns send Trevor Ariza to Wizards for Kelly Oubre, Austin Rivers|
|Mourinho charge for ´improper´ language dismissed|
|Are the Knicks for sale? Depends on the offer, says Dolan|
|Klopp´s Liverpool are vulnerable – Neuer|
|Warrington: Frampton not an elite fighter|
|I want to finish the job off - Yates confirms Giro d´Italia focus in 2019|
|Atletico confirm Filipe Luis hamstring injury|
|Best backs Schmidt to lead Lions in 2021|
|Barcelona´s Vermaelen out for a month with calf injury|
|India lose Shaw for Australia tour as defeat looms in Perth|
|We didn´t have much luck - Nedved dismayed by Atletico tie|
|Manchester City must control Schalke, Begiristain warns|
|Ibrahimovic hints at LA Galaxy stay|
|Latham fills his boots in Wellington with record-breaking knock|