Cristiano Ronaldo netted a second-half brace to inspire 10-man Real Madrid to a 4-3 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday.
The big news before the game was that goalkeeper Iker Casillas remained on the bench while Ronaldo was handed the armband for the game - though Casillas would come off the bench early on.
Los Blancos were looking to overcome their poor run at the end of 2012 and twice took the lead, through Karim Benzema and Sami Khedira, but Xabi Prieto pulled the visitors back on both occasions. Ronaldo then struck twice before Prieto sealed his hat-trick to make things nervy.
Madrid goalkeeper Antonio Adan was sent off in the fifth minute for a foul on Carlos Vela but Sociedad would also finish with 10 men after Daniel Estrada was sent off with 10 minutes to go.
The hosts got off to a flyer with Benzema finding the net after 90 seconds when he latched onto a throughball from Khedira before firing home.
The lead lasted just a few minutes though as Adan brought down Vela and Prieto sent Casillas the wrong way from the spot.
Madrid would restore their advantage in the 35th minute when Ricardo Carvalho's deflected shot fell for Kheira who backheeled home.
Again, the lead lasted a short while as Prieto latched onto a deflected shot before calmly slotting past Casillas.
Ronaldo exploded into life in the 68th minute when he stroked the ball under the goalkeeper after it had been lofted into his path by Benzema.
The Portugal international completed his brace two minutes later with a superb free-kick which went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Prieto would restore Sociedad's hope in the 77th minute when he powered a low shot into the back of the net but Estrada's sending off for a clumsy tackle on Ronaldo evened things out and the hosts saw out the win.