Deportivo La Coruna secured their first victory since early November in Domingos Paciencia's first game in charge as a wonderful individual goal by Pizzi was enough to see off Malaga 1-0.
Pizzi had looked the most likely to create danger throughout a tepid first period as his free-kick came crashing back off the post.
However, he made no mistake when presented with a chance by a poor pass from Jesus Gamez 12 minutes into the second-half, turning Martin Demichelis before rocketing a shot high past Willy Caballero.
Malaga were way off the excellent form they had displayed just before the winter break throughout and offered little in reply with Roque Santa Cruz's near-post header which flashed wide the closest they came to an equaliser.
Victory means Depor remain in the relegation zone only on goal difference, whilst Malaga stay in fourth but are now level on points with Betis and just one ahead of Levante. They missed the chance to climb above Real Madrid and into third place.
Levante moved back to within a point of Malaga as they came from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Aritz Aduriz had given the visitors an early lead as he stooped to head home Andoni Iraola's cross for his 15th goal of the season but Levante were level 20 minutes later thanks to a thunderous strike from Christian Lell.
Athletic were then reduced to 10 men just before the break as Aymeric Laporte was shown a straight red card for bringing down Roger as he broke clear on goal.
Levante made their man advantage count almost immediately as Vicente Iborra beat Gorka Iraizoz to David Navarro's flick-on to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at the interval.
And Juan Ignacio Martinez's men made sure of all three points 20 minutes from time when Nabil El-Zhar sent a low drive from outside the box into Iraizoz's bottom right-hand corner.
Second-half goals from Jonas and Pablo Piatti helped Valencia recover from a goal down to beat 10-man Granada 2-1 at Nuevo Los Carmenes.
The hosts had to play for almost an hour with a man less as Mikel Rico was shown an extremely harsh second yellow card when referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco adjudged him to have handled 11 minutes before half-time.
Despite that blow it was Granada who struck first just four minutes after the break as substitute Brayan Angulo sent a perfectly looping volley over Dani Alves.
The lead, though, only lasted nine minutes as Jonas bulleted home a header from Piatti's corner and the Argentinian then scored himself as he redirected Roberto Soldado's cross-shot into an empty net eight minutes from time.
The win kept Valencia in the chase for fourth place as they closed the gap on Real Betis and Malaga to four points, while Granada remained just a point above the relegation zone.
Emir Spahic's late goal gave Sevilla a much-needed 1-0 win over Osasuna as they put their dismal end to 2012 behind them.
Spahic fired in from Jose Antonio Reyes' knock-down in the 83rd minute to give Sevilla only their first win in six matches after they had slipped down to 14th place before the winter break.
The narrow margin will tell coach Michel his side's problems are not all fixed yet, but they certainly deserved the win after creating the vast majority of the chances.