- Atletico Madrid draws level at top with Barcelona
- Atletico beats Athletic Bilbao 2-1
- Real Madrid slips to defeat at Villarreal
- Barcelona held 2-2 by Deportivo Saturday
Real was hoping to take advantage of Barca's disappointing 2-2 home draw with Deportivo La Coruna Saturday, but an early goal by Roberto Soldado in El Madrigal proved its undoing.
To rub salt into the wound, city rival Atletico had earlier come from a goal down to beat Athletic Bilbao, drawing level with Barcelona on points at the top.
Real is five points adrift and only two and three points ahead of Celta Vigo and in-form Villarreal after 15 rounds.
Rafael Benitez's team had won five straight, including an 8-0 rout of Malmo in midweek, since the El Clasico defeat to Barcelona, but showed little of that form in the first half with the strike by Soldado off a Cedric Bakambu pass giving the Yellow Submarine a deserved lead.
Bakambu might have added to the tally before Real woke up in the second half with a string of chances falling to Karim Benzema, who had previously been in a vein of rich scoring form despite his off-field problems.
This time the French star was wasteful with three excellent openings while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale also had glimpses of goal but failed to equalize.
The damning statistic at the final whistle was just one shot on target for the visitors and another damaging defeat for Benitez.
Earlier, Atletico trailed at the Vicente Calderon when Aymeric Laporte converted from Benat Etxebarria's corner.
A near post header by Saul Niguez saw Diego Simeone's team level by the half and after visiting pressure left the home side on the back foot, it was a stunning strike from Antoine Griezmann which settled it for Atletico.
Saturday saw an incredible fightback by Deportivo in the Nou Camp, trailing 2-0 with 14 minutes to go after home goals by Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic in each half.
The visitors pulled one back when Lucas Perez ran on to Miguel Cardoso's pass to score before Alex Bergantinos thumped a superb 86th minute leveler to stun the European and Spanish champion.
Barcelona is now headed to Japan for the annual Club World Cup, taking a break from La Liga action until the end of the month.