Sevilla clung on for a 3-2 victory to boost their push for European qualification in an enjoyable blood-and-thunder encounter against Villarreal at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Ivan Rakitic and Alvaro Negredo gave the hosts an early 2-0 lead which was cut shortly after half-time by Carlos Marchena.
Substitutes Ndri Romaric and Giuseppe Rossi then traded goals before Marchena was sent off for an overdue second booking.
Captain Sergio Aguero scored twice as Atletico Madrid strengthened their bid for a Europa League berth with a 4-1 home victory over in-form Levante at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico took the lead through Elias' free-kick and, although Levante levelled just before half-time with a Felipe Caicedo penalty, Aguero netted two goals after the break to put the Rojiblancos in charge before a late own goal from visiting goalkeeper Gustavo Munua completed the scoring.
Malaga pulled within one point of Racing Santander after a 2-1 win and put a sliver of daylight between themselves and the driop zone.
Two goals in three first half minutes, from Julio Baptista and Sebastian Fernandez, did the damage. Markus Rosenborg halved the deficit but Racing couldn't find an equaliser. Malaga are now three points from the drop zone, with Racing a point ahead.
Sporting Gijon took a giant step towards survival and dented Espanyol's European hopes in the process as they won 1-0 at El Molinon.
Nacho Novo scored the only goal of the game to see Sporting break the 40-point barrier with five league games still remaining and extend Espanyol's miserable recent run.
Real Mallorca took a giant step towards ensuring they will be playing Primera Division football again next season with a 2-0 victory over Getafe, who in contrast slipped further into the relegation mire.
Headed goals in either half from Jose Carlos Nunes and Akihiro Ienaga earned Mallorca the spoils and lifted Michael Laudrup's side onto 42 points - which has been enough to guarantee top-flight safety in seven of the last nine seasons. Getafe, though, could find themselves just two points above the drop zone if Real Zaragoza beat last-placed Almeria on Monday.
Hercules picked up a vital three points in a 1-0 win over mid-table Deportivo to keep their survival bid on track and remain unbeaten in their last three matches.
A solitary Tiago Gomes strike was enough to take the home side above Real Zaragoza and within two points of 17th placed Osasuna while defeat means Deportivo stay 13th, only five points ahead of Hercules.