Villarreal CF followed up last week's fine European win with a 1-0 home success against Real Zaragoza that puts breathing space between Juan Carlos Garrido's side and fifth-placed Athletic Club.
In a tight contest the Yellow Submarine struggled to break down a Zaragoza team looking to move out of the bottom three, and the match remained goalless for 71 minutes until the visitors conceded a penalty.
Giuseppe Rossi, who had scored from the spot in last Thursday's 3-1 UEFA Europa League quarter-final victory at FC Twente, again held his nerve to lift Villarreal to within six points of Valencia CF and take his Liga goal tally to 16.
The Italian international has now scored 30 times in all competitions this campaign and will be key to his club's hopes of progressing past FC Porto in their UEFA Europa League semi-final, the first leg of which takes place in Portugal on 28 April.
Zaragoza, whose misery was compounded by the added-time dismissal of Ikechukwu Uche, stay third from bottom, behind Málaga CF who also have 33 points from 32 games.
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