Karim Benzema made a scoring return to fitness on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu as his sixth-minute strike helped power Real Madrid to a 4-0 win over Sevilla and within a single point of second-placed rivals Atletico Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed from the penalty spot, but the Portuguese recovered to notch his 41st goal of the season before Gareth Bale and substitute Jese Rodriguez completed Real's rout.
Regular centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe were suspended for the visit of Sevilla, leaving Raphael Varane and Nacho to deputise in defence for the hosts, while Benzema completed his return to fitness in style.
After all members of the celebrated BBC trio got on the scoreboard, Sky Sports Statto highlighted the success of Real's front three upon being reunited on Sunday:
Benzema came into Sunday's clash having last featured for Los Merengues almost a month ago, and the France striker outlined his importance to the team's attack by taking just six minutes to break the deadlock.
Sky Sports Statto reported the opening strike to be the 250th of Benzema's career, and Sky Sports La Liga provided a look at his terrifically taken volley on the end of a Bale cross from the right flank:
Manager Zinedine Zidane's men took a firm grip of proceedings, and the shot count turned swiftly in their favour. But the likes of Ronaldo and Bale were frustrated at every corner against a team struggling for away form.
Sevilla frontman Kevin Gameiro spurned his opportunity to fire the visitors level after 26 minutes, with No. 1 Keylor Navas coming to Real's rescue from the penalty spot:
Kevin Gameiro, Sevilla's 21-goal top scorer, fails from a penalty for the 3rd time out of 6 in all comps this season pic.twitter.com/prStLtwATP— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 20, 2016
Los Blancos were forced to go without the talents of several key stars at the start of this season, but Sunday's hosts were glad to have the likes of Bale and Benzema back in the team and playing to their potential.
Goal's Ben Hayward was full of praise for the capital outfit, but with only one goal on the board at the half-time whistle, the fixture was still in doubt:
Real Madrid playing well and Gareth Bale in particular. Sevilla haven't won away all season and that doesn't look like changing tonight...— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) March 20, 2016
And it didn't help Real's morale when it came Ronaldo's turn to miss from the 12-yard spot as he fired his 57th-minute spot-kick over Sergio Rico's crossbar, his third penalty miss of the campaign.
That came in contrast to Neymar's effort earlier on Sunday during Barcelona's 2-2 draw at Villarreal, as noted by BBC Sport's Andy West:
Neymar scores a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo misses a penalty. Weird day in La Liga.— Andy West (@andywest01) March 20, 2016
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos each went close for Real before Bale struck the woodwork in agonising fashion, and it seemed as though the home side's frustrations would never cease.
But Ronaldo then made up for his earlier miss from the spot by diverting a Danilo cross home from close range, and Bale followed up with a third just two minutes later to put the tie beyond doubt. The Welshman's 43rd La Liga goal also brought him a piece of Spanish history:
Real's domination of the bout continued, and WhoScored.com reported the hosts registered almost four times the amount of attempts on goal as their opponents, notching 26 in total compared to Sevilla's seven.
Sevilla's woeful away trip was compounded when Jese, on as a substitute for Bale, embarked on a late run down the left flank, exchanging a one-two before scorching in a fourth inside Rico's box.
A win means Real have booked four successive La Liga victories for just the second time this season, but a make-or-break trip to Barcelona for this season's second El Clasico will test their resolve next up.
Zidane's side know their hopes of La Liga silverware rest at the Camp Nou, with a win potentially firing their bid back into gear, while another defeat to their derby rivals all but rules them out of the race altogether.
Sunday's result was a slow burner for Real Madrid, but the home outfit persevered past Ronaldo's penalty miss and eventually summoned the strength necessary to complete a demolition of Sevilla.
Zidane was unsurprisingly overjoyed with the end result, and he told the media in his post-match comments that he was hoping to see more of the same between now and season's end, per Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa of Spanish daily Marca:
I'm very happy with how the game went, from the first minute to the final whistle. I said we'd had one of the best weeks in training and it showed. We played one of the best games of the season.
Playing like that we can really go places and the players know it. We must always maintain the same level of intensity and commitment.
When quizzed on his side's prospects for the rest of the season, Zidane maintained that it was always Real's ambition to finish second ahead of Atletico, and that pursuit now looks all the more realistic after Sunday's win.
Los Blancos' chief also made sure to point his scoring trio of Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo for special praise and added: "This is the third time we've had the BBC and it's very important to have all the players fit, it gives you something extra. But I also want to congratulate those who came on for 20 minutes, because it's not easy to come on and play well."