Depor boost, Hercules show strength
Deportivo La Coruna fought back from a half-time deficit against Real Mallorca to claim a valuable 2-1 victory in their fight to avoid the drop.
Mallorca took a 27th-minute lead through Pierre Webo - who was also sent off late on - but Depor turned the game around with two goals in 12 second-half minutes from Xisco and Nouioui Lassad to take the spoils.
Sevilla climbed to fifth place thanks to an accomplished 3-1 win at home to struggling Real Zaragoza.
The Andalusians have endured an indifferent campaign but found some form in the lead-up to this match, having drawn against Barcelona and beaten Valencia. And they made it seven points out of a possible nine thanks to second-half penalties from Frederic Kanoute and Alvaro Negredo.
Earlier, Zaragoza's Jiri Jarosik cancelled out Diego Perotti's first-half strike just after the interval.
Atletico Madrid gave themselves a European boost with a 3-2 win at 10-man Osasuna.
Starting in front of Diego Forlan, who was on the bench, Diego Costa hit a superb hat-trick after Kike Sola had put the hosts in front. Having put Atletico 3-1 up - slamming home his first shortly before the interval and adding a quickfire brace in the second half - Costa watched as Jose Antonio Reyes missed a penalty and Osasuna's Javad Nekounam pulled one back with his own spot-kick.
Sergio was dismissed for an elbow on Brazilian and Atletico held on to move up to 7th place.
Miroslav Djukic enjoyed a dream debut as coach of Hercules as his charges downed Real Sociedad 3-1 to climb off the bottom of the Primera Division standings with their first away win since September.
Djukic took over from the sacked Esteban Vigo just before the international break and inherited a side that had picked up just four points from a possible 33 since mid-January, but the former Yugoslavia international has made an immediate impact.
Javier Portillo gave Hercules the lead in the 70th minute and then Royston Drenthe, who this week was left out of training after arriving an hour late for the session, scored twice late on to seal the promoted club's first away win since stunning Barcelona at the start of the season.
Levante moved a step closer to survival thanks to a fine 3-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Malaga.
The promoted outfit, who boast the best record of any team other than Barcelona and Real Madrid in the second half of the championship, were up against a Malaga side who had won their last two matches, and raced into a two-goal lead inside nine minutes through Christian Stuani and Ruben Suarez.
And although Sebas Fernandez gave Malaga hope as he pulled a goal back on the hour, Stuani wrapped up a deserved victory for the home side 10 minutes later.
Giovani dos Santos headed a late winner at Cornella as Racing Santander came from a goal down to beat Espanyol 2-1.
Dani Osvaldo fired Espanyol into the lead from the penalty spot eight minutes before half-time, but Gonzalo Colsa replied for the visitors five minutes after the restart and Giovani sealed the points for the Cantabrians when he headed home 15 minutes from time.