Levante’s new year charge for a European berth continued on Saturday as they beat Osasuna 2-0 – despite playing the last half-hour with a man less.
Joaquin Caparros’ men looked more likely to be embroiled in a relegation fight after losing six of seven league matches around Christmas, but since suffering a 2-0 derby defeat to Valencia on January 4 they have compiled an unbeaten eight-match run to storm up the standings.
Their latest success came courtesy of first-half goals from Papakouli Diop and Ruben Garcia, although they were made to sweat for the points after losing Victor Casadesus to a red card in the 60th minute.
Osasuna could not find a way back into the match, though, to leave Levante seventh and within seven points of sixth-placed Real Sociedad, who face a tough trip to Sevilla on Sunday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Elche eased their relegation concerns with a 1-0 home win over Celta Vigo.
Substitute Carles Gil struck the winner five minutes from time as Elche moved six points clear of third-bottom Real Valladolid.