Higuain proves matchwinner for Real Madrid
Higuain tapped home from point-blank range in the 82nd minute to help Madrid record their sixth successive league win and climb back above Barcelona, who had moved two points clear at the summit with their 3-1 win over Villarreal on Saturday.
The victory also continues Madrid's fine unbeaten start under Jose Mourinho, with 13 victories in 17 games in all competitions.
Mourinho had to watch from the stands at El Molinon after being handed a two-match ban for his dismissal in Wednesday's 5-1 Copa del Rey win over Real Murcia, while his war of words with Sporting coach Manuel Preciado before the game ensured his side a warm welcome on the north coast of Spain.
However, the partisan atmosphere failed to stop the Madrid juggernaut as the visitors edged their way to yet another victory against a Sporting side who finished with 10 men following the injury-time dismissal of defender Alberto Botia.