A brilliant goal from Cani helped high-flying Villarreal continue their impressive home form with a 4-2 victory over battling Osasuna.
Cani scored from the halfway line to put Villarreal 2-1 ahead in the 50th minute, just moments after Osasuna forward Krisztian Vadocz had cancelled out Marco Ruben's 22nd-minute opener for the hosts.
Villarreal then extended their lead in the 65th minute through Joan Capdevila, and although Osasuna pulled a goal back soon after through substitute Javier Calleja, the Yellow Submarine ensured the points at El Madrigal when captain Gonzalo Rodriguez headed in their fourth late on.
The victory means Villarreal have now taken 28 points from a possible 30 at home this season and are certain to finish the first half of the Primera Division season in third spot.
Espanyol kept the pressure on the top four as a brace of goals from Jose Maria Callejon gave them a 2-1 victory at Sevilla to enhance their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Sevilla had entered the match on the back of successive league wins, which had arrested a five-game losing streak, but goals either side of the break from Callejon kept Mauricio Pochettino's side fifth in the table. Alvaro Negredo pulled one back for Sevilla late on, but it was not enough to salvage a point.
Real Zaragoza moved off the bottom of the table thanks to a hard-fought home 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Levante.
Gabi's goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to give the Aragonese outfit only their third league win of the season, but it was a second straight home success for Javier Aguirre's side, who move above Levante into 18th place at La Liga's halfway stage.
Real Sociedad boosted their chances of a return to Europe and dented the hopes of Getafe with a stunning 4-0 win away to the Madrid-based outfit.
The home side found themselves a goal down after just nine minutes, when Miguel Torres inexplicably handled in the area and Xabi Prieto stepped up to convert from the spot. Victor Sanchez missed a good chance at the other end, but Real remained the better side and went two goals ahead after 32 minutes, when Antoine Griezmann volleyed home at the far post.
Mikel Aranburu then struck twice in the dying minutes as Getafe pushed forward and left spaces at the back, allowing the substitute to finish two quick counter-attacks and give Real their best away win since 2004, when they beat Malaga 5-1.
Sporting Gijon climbed out of the relegation zone and eased some of the pressure on coach Manuel Preciado with a much-needed 2-0 victory over Hercules.
First-half goals from David Barral and Nacho Cases set Sporting on the road to only their third league success of the season and brought to an end a run of 13 competitive matches without a win which had left the spotlight on long-serving coach Preciado.
Athletic Bilbao maintained their push for European football with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Racing Santander.
Goals in the opening nine minutes from Javi Martinez and Iker Muniain gave the home side the perfect start but Racing, who hit the woodwork twice in the first half, eventually got on the scoresheet through Ivan Bolado.
Any hopes of leaving San Mames with a draw, however, were ended by the late dismissal of Pedro Munitis for a second yellow card.