Nilmar was the hero for Villarreal CF as the Brazilian international secured his side a 1-0 win against Liga rivals Sevilla FC that consolidated their grip on third spot ahead of RCD Espanyol, who defeated Real Sporting de Gijón by the same scoreline.
Vying to keep some semblance of pressure on front two FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, Villarreal went ahead on the half-hour when Nilmar latched on to a Giuseppe Rossi ball, rounded Andrés Palop and slid in what proved to be the decisive goal. The Yellow Submarine thus kept themselves within seven points of Barcelona and five shy of Madrid.
In fourth, Espanyol had Luis García's 70th-minute effort to thank for maintaining their perfect home record, his goal making light of Raúl Baena's dismissal seven minutes after the break. Elsewhere, RCD Mallorca slipped to a 3-0 loss at Getafe CF, Pedro Ríos registering twice, and Málaga CF climbed out of the bottom three by seeing off Real Racing Club 4-1. Basement pair UD Almería and Real Zaragoza drew 1-1, with Real Sociedad de Fútbol sweeping aside Athletic Club 2-0 in the late fixture.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.