Substitute Alvaro Morata was the hero for Real Madrid as they claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.
A straightforward night seemed on the cards when Karim Benzema gave them a seventh-minute lead, but a combination of Athletic's doggedness and Real's ragged defending allowed Sabin Merino to score a 27th-minute equaliser.
Real could not convert a series of second-half chances until Gareth Bale crossed from the left to Morata in the 83rd minute, and the former Juventus man was able to tap in after Gorka Iraizoz blocked his first effort.
The result took Real to the top of La Liga after nine rounds of games, but it could have been different if Inaki Williams had taken one, or both, of the second-half opportunities which came his way.
Sevilla climbed above Atletico Madrid and into top spot as Steven Nzonzi's cool finish sealed a tight game at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
The home side were just about worth the 1-0 win which maintains their 100 percent home record in La Liga after five matches as Jorge Sampaoli got one over on fellow Argentinian coach Diego Simeone and Koke was shown a second yellow card in the 77th minute for a lunge on Adil Rami.
Samir Nasri's creativity was key in a tight contest played out in driving rain as the Andalusians recorded a fifth straight win in all competitions and inflicted Atleti's first league defeat of the season.
Villarreal continued their positive start to the season as Cedric Bakambu's stoppage-time goal completed a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Las Palmas at El Madrigal.
Fran Escriba's men fell behind to a world-class strike from Kevin-Prince Boateng in the first half but equalised in the 64th minute with a Nicola Sansone penalty.
A draw would arguably have been the correct result but the Yellow Submarine plundered all three points as Bakambu showed strength to nudge the ball to Roberto Soriano, who slotted a pass back to the Congolese forward and he made no mistake with a calm finish.
Celta Vigo claimed Galician bragging rights with a 4-1 La Liga derby victory over Deportivo La Coruna at Balaidos.
The game was delicately poised 1-1 at half-time with Raul Albentosa's first Deportivo goal quickly cancelling out Hugo Mallo's powerful strike. But Celta took control in a fiery contest of eight bookings after Iago Aspas had dispatched a controversial penalty on the hour.
Fabian Orellana's header gave Celta a two-goal cushion before Aspas added to Deportivo's misery seven minutes from time.
Malaga claimed a convincing 4-0 victory over Leganes at La Rosaleda to leapfrog their opponents in the standings.
The visitors from the Madrid suburbs made a promising start but two quickfire goals just before half-time, the first a Jony penalty and the second a counter-attack finished by Chory Castro, left them with an awful lot to do.
Sandro Ramirez scored the third in the 58th minute and Ignacio Camacho's header rounded off the scoring in injury time.