RC Deportivo La Coruña went third in the Primera División after beating UD Las Palmas on Sunday.
RC Deportivo La Coruña jumped to third in the Spanish Primera División after a narrow home triumph over UD Las Palmas.
The UEFA Champions League hopefuls are now level with second-placed Deportivo Alavés on 36 points, three behind leaders Real Madrid CF. Both Alavés and Madrid played on Saturday, the former winning 2-1 at Real Sociedad while the champions were surprisingly held 1-1 at Málaga CF.
It was a tough encounter for Deportivo with only Las Palmas goalkeeper Nacho González's own goal in the 65th minute condemning his side to their eighth defeat of the season. It was a miserable game for the visitors, as they also had Tomás Olías carried off on a stretcher in the first half. Elsewhere on Sunday, FC Barcelona missed the chance to make up some ground on the leading pack after falling to a 2-1 defeat at bottom club Rayo Vallecano.
Rayo were in impressive form from the start and took the lead in the 25th minute with a spectacular solo effort from Elvir Boliç. Picking up the ball on the left, the he surged towards the edge of the area before curling a shot into the far corner. Rayo gave the visitors little time to settle on the ball throughout, although Barcelona did force their way back into the game when Xavi's first-time shot beat goalkeeper Imanol Etxeberria ten minutes after the interval.
Rayo sensed they could still snatch all three points and quickly regained the lead four minutes later after fine work by Jordi Ferron on the right. The midfield player sent a teasing cross towards the far post where Ramón de Quintina headed home to secure Rayo's first league win since mid-November and leave Barcelona in fifth.
Another high-flying club stunned on Sunday were Athletic Club Bilbao, who lost only their second league match of the season with a 3-0 defeat at RCD Mallorca. The islanders took the lead on 36 minutes when Alberto Luque finished off a lightning break with a fine solo run and shot. Vicente Engonga added a penalty 18 minutes from time and Roberto Losada wrapped things up with another individual effort deep into stoppage time.
RC Celta de Vigo came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at CD Tenerife and are now in fourth place. Catanha's 72nd-minute strike cancelled out Bino's goal for Tenerife just before the half-hour mark. Valencia CF lost their first home match of the campaign, going down 2-1 at the Mestalla stadium against a rejuvenated Real Valladolid. Luis García put the visitors in front with a penalty in the 19th minute but Valencia were back in the game seven minutes later through defender Mauricio Pellegrino. Fernando Sales then restored Valladolid's lead in the 34th minute and the visitors hung on for a famous victory.
Two for Olivera
Sevilla FC battled back from going a goal down at home to Real Zaragoza to record an impressive 4-2 victory. Toro Acuña put the visitors in front after 12 minutes but José Reyes pulled one back for Sevilla six minutes later. Two goals in three minutes from Nicolás Olivera then put Sevilla in a commanding position before Luciano Galletti cut the deficit to one with a goal in the 65th minute for the away team. Víctor Salas made the game safe for the hosts though with a fourth just before the end.
Antonio Guayre twice levelled for Villarreal CF to earn them a 2-2 draw at Club Atlético Osasuna. His goals in the 24th and 60th minutes cancelled out John Aloisi's third-minute opener and then an own goal from Juan Pizzi just before half-time. Sunday's other match saw José Palencia's 88th-minute strike earn RCD Espanyol a 1-1 draw at home to Real Betis Balompié, who had taken the lead ten minutes earlier through Joäo Tomás.