Diego Costa scored his Spanish league-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season to give Atletico Madrid a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday, extending its club record with an eighth win in as many games to start the domestic campaign.
The win at its Vicente Calderon Stadium kept Atletico level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table and five points ahead of Real Madrid after both rivals won on Saturday.
Diego Costa was born in Brazil but holds a Spanish passport, and his latest performance will surely give Spain coach Vicente del Bosque even more reason to stick to his plan of calling him up to join the world champions for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Diego Costa made up for a missed penalty by tapping in Filipe Luis' cross three minutes before halftime and he added another goal with a move that combined finesse and power in the 62nd.
His double gave him two more goals than Barcelona's injured Lionel Messi and three more than Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
''Diego Costa is our main weapon up front,'' said Atletico midfielder Mario Suarez. ''He helps us in various ways and is also scoring lots of goals.''
Celta substitute Manuel ''Nolito'' Agudo halved the deficit in the 71st and the forward threatened to grab the equalizer late, but a tiring Atletico held on to the three points.
Later, Valencia visits Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla hosts Almeria, and Real Betis plays at Getafe.
While Diego Costa continued to impress, his strike partner David Villa had a game he will likely want to forget.
Celta goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez turned back a number of his shots before Villa wasted a Diego Costa pass that had left him alone with only the goalkeeper to beat. Villa apparently had picked up an injury just before the miss and immediately asked to be substituted in the 58th.
Atletico also lost captain Gabi Fernandez to a left leg injury late, leading to the debut of French midfielder Joshua Guilavogui.
Atletico dominated the first half against a toothless Celta side that couldn't muster a shot on goal and only stayed in the game thanks to Rodriguez's series of fine saves.
Rodriguez was particularly outstanding in the 25th when he blocked two clear chances following teammate Hugo Mallo's foul of Filipe Luis in the area.
Diego Costa stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Rodriguez smothered his shot and was quick enough to retreat to his far post to push Villa's attempt to poke in the rebound past his post.
But Rodriguez could do nothing when Celta's Alex Lopez knocked the ball back into his own area where Filipe Luis squared for both Diego Godin and Diego Costa to tap the ball in. The goal was awarded to Diego Costa.
Diego Costa's second goal came when he neatly chested down a long pass, used one arm to brush off last defender David Costas, and fired the ball under Rodriguez.
Celta coach Luis Enrique sent on Nolito and his team finally responded after Nolito pulled one back by chipping the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Nolito continued to cause Atletico problems until the final whistle, drawing a save from Courtois with a free kick in injury time.
Both Atletico and Barcelona can match Madrid's record start of nine straight wins to start the season in 1968 in the next round after the international break.