Sociedad pick up fourth straight win
Real Sociedad edged their way past Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to win the Basque derby at Anoeta with a goal at the end of either half, cutting the gap between themselves and their local rivals in fourth spot to just one point.
Antoine Griezmann put the hosts ahead in the closing stages of the first half and although Ernesto Valverde's side had significantly more possession, they were unable to carve together enough chances to equalize, and in injury time Ruben Pardo provided the finishing touch to a counterattack to seal the points.
Athletic went into the game four points clear of their rivals in fourth and the game had been billed as a crunch tie in the battle for the final Champions League spot.
The visitors made the brighter start, with Ander Herrera and Aymer Laporte both shooting off target early on. Carlos Vela had La Real's first notable effort and then Imanol Agirretxe came close to flicking a cross from the Mexican into the goal.
At the other end, Carlos Gurpegui headed just wide of the near post from close range following a corner, and later Aritz Aduriz hit the side netting.
Valverde's men looked the likelier team to score but with little more than two minutes to play of the first half, it was La Real who took the lead.
Pardo sent in an out-swinging corner towards Griezmann on the left hand side of the area, and the winger's shot was kicked out by Athletic stopper Gorka Iraizoz straight back to the Frenchman, who struck first time and this time the ball bounced in at the near post.
The goalkeeper's view had been blocked by the outstretched leg of Vela, but the former Arsenal striker did not get a touch, and Iraizoz will feel he should have done much better.
La Real started the second period on the front foot and could have doubled their lead through one of two own goals. First Mikel Rico flicked a Griezmann corner just wide of the near post, then Mikel Balenziaga headed a corner from Pardo off the post.
Athletic soon improved but were imprecise when they got to their hosts' area, and had appeals for a handball by Markel Bergara in the area turned down.
Midway through the second half Griezmann was put through on a rare break for La Real, but this time Iraizoz got the better of his opponent. For all their possession, Athletic created few clear cut chances.
Herrera should have done more when presented with a free shot on the edge of the area, which he struck into the arms of Claudio Bravo, while Aduriz came inches away from sending a cross from the left hand side inside the near post.
Athletic became more and more desperate as time ran out and left their left hand side exposed, allowing Pardo to stroll into the area, receive a pass from Haris Seferovic and calmly slot into the opposite corner.
Sevilla hammered Getafe 3-0 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to move sixth in the Primera Division.
Goals from Vitolo, Carlos Bacca and Ivan Rakitic rewarded the hosts' dominance as they moved six points ahead of their opponents in the race for a European place.
Getafe lie ninth but could be overtaken by Espanyol should the Barcelona side win at Osasuna later in the day.
Sevilla threatened through two early headers, Vitolo denied by keeper Miguel Moya before Federico Fazio's effort went over.
Bacca's shot was also too high and Vitolo shot wide, either side of an optimistic effort from Getafe's Borja Fernandez.
Kevin Gameiro provided the most serious threat of the opening 20 minutes, Sevilla's French striker hitting a post with an angled drive.
Fernando Navarro's volley and Coke Andujar's drive both cleared the crossbar before the crucial moment of the first half arrived shortly after the half-hour.
Getafe went close when Adrian Colunga forced an excellent reaction save from home keeper Antonio Beto, but Sevilla broke away and within a minute had taken the lead. Bacca was the provider with a through-ball for Vitolo to finish neatly from six yards.
Getafe's search for an equaliser yielded only two nonthreatening efforts from Sergio Escudero before the break, while Pedro Leon fired wide shortly after.
And Bacca put the game to bed 10 minutes into the second period when he met Fazio's cushioned header with a close-range volley into the bottom corner.
Colunga shot wide and Escudero fired over, while in between times Sevilla went close through Rakitic.
Getafe's challenge petered out completely, though, and after Bacca tested Moya and Daniel Carrico headed over, Sevilla added a deserved third goal in the 77th minute.
Bacca again provided the final pass for Rakitic to finish low from just inside the box.
Rakitic and Piotr Trochowski saw long-range shots saved by Moya before Marko Marin sent a late chance over the bar from close range.
Osasuna moved two points clear of the relegation zone with a vital but narrow 1-0 win over Espanyol at El Sadar.
Alvaro Cejudo scored the only goal of the game after 33 minutes as Osasuna edged the first half, but the hosts were also indebted to goalkeeper Andres Fernandez for a string of quality saves as Espanyol put up a fight in the second period.
The visitors' frustration grew with every wasted chance and coach Javier Aguirre was sent from his dugout to the stands midway through the second half after protesting a decision by referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva too vehemently for the official's liking.
Osasuna began the day occupying the final relegation spot but move up to 15th in the table thanks to the win, with Real Valladolid slipping down to 18th.
Espanyol, meanwhile, stay in 10th place but their miserable away run continues - they have taken just eight points from nine matches on the road this season.