Diego Forlán scored the only goal from the penalty spot against Valencia CF as Club Atlético de Madrid improved their chances of a return to the UEFA Champions League next season.
César Sánchez was adjudged to have brought down Sergio Agüero as the Argentinian attempted to round the Valencia goalkeeper and that allowed Forlán (30) to tuck away his 28th league goal of the campaign, leaving him one behind FC Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o in the race for the Pichichi. Atlético displace their opponents in fourth as a result, opening up a two-point lead over Los Ché and Villarreal CF with two games left.
Meanwhile, Málaga CF's hopes of making a late surge for a place in the UEFA Europa League were hit by a 2-1 loss at Real Sporting de Gijón, which lifted their opponents level on points with fourth-bottom CA Osasuna. CD Numancia triumphed in the battle of the bottom two with RC Recreativo de Huelva, winning 1-0 to move off the foot of the table at the expense of their visitors, who had Andrés Lamas sent off (88) moments before José Barkero scored the winner from the spot.
Clear of trouble
Elsewhere, Real Betis Balompié moved three points clear of the relegation zone by defeating ten-man UD Almería 2-0, while RCD Espanyol triumphed 1-0 against Athletic Club Bilbao. Nikola Žigić's 86th-minute winner earned Real Racing Club a 3-2 home success against Real Valladolid CF.
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