Real Madrid CF were denied victory by a late Real Betis Balompié goal but none of the chasing pack won.
Sevilla on the rise
Spanish international Iván Helguera put Vicente del Bosque's men ahead on the stroke of half-time. However, the Seville club equalised on 89 minutes through Juan Gutiérrez to move above FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC into eight place.
Barcelona's hopes of domestic success look in tatters after they lost for the second time in a week, 1-0 at home to lowly Club Atlético Osasuna. The Catalan side were undone by Alfredo Sánchez's goal shortly after Phillip Cocu's 75th-minute dismissal for a second yellow card. This meant another setback for a Barcelona team already out of the Spanish Cup and surprised 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano last weekend.
Chasing pack drop points
While Barcelona dropped to ninth position, Deportivo Alavés and RC Deportivo La Coruña also failed to pressure leaders Real Madrid CF. The Basque side were thrashed 4-0 at home by struggling RCD Mallorca, for whom Roberto Losada scored twice. For their part, third-place Deportivo could only draw 1-1 at Athletic Club Bilbao, where Santiago Ezquerro cancelled out Djalminha's 65th-minute strike for the visitors.
Elsewhere, Villarreal CF left CD Tenerife four points adrift in 18th position with a 2-1 success at the Madrigal - Jorge Lopez and Juan Pizzi scoring twice in 40 seconds just before the break. Things got even worse for Rayo Vallecano, though, and they are second from bottom after their 3-2 defeat by Real Zaragoza. Savo Milosevic made a triumphant two-goal return to La Romareda after his transfer from Parma AC.
No goals at Valladolid
Moisés García inspired Sevilla to an impressive 3-0 home win against RCD Espanyol, while the mid-table encounter between Real Valladolid and Málaga CF ended goalless. In Saturday's games, second-place RC Celta de Vigo eased past bottom club Real Sociedad 3-1 at Riazor, and Valencia CF won 1-0 at UD Las Palmas to go fourth in the table.