Atletico Madrid overcame a difficult first half to sweep to a 3-0 victory over Valencia and go level on points and goal difference with Barcelona at the top of the Primera Division.
Diego Costa struck the opening goal on 59 minutes, and then Raul Garcia doubled the lead just moments after coming onto the pitch.
Costa missed a penalty and then scored his second attempt from the spot to round off a victory that will further bolster Atletico's title hopes.
Imanol Agirretxe scored twice as Real Sociedad thrashed Real Betis 5-1 to keep the Seville-based club rock bottom in the standings.
Agirretxe opened the scoring in the sixth minute and all was relatively calm for Betis following Jorge Molina's equaliser until three goals in just over 10 minutes left them with no hope of claiming a vital victory to climb from the foot of the table.
Jon Ansotegui scored the second in the 55th minute with Antoine Griezmann and Agirretxe weighing in to seal a comfortable victory before Xabi Prieto added insult to injury with a late score.
The result leaves Betis still three points adrift of safety while Sociedad remained in sixth but closed the gap on fifth-placed Villarreal to two points.
Verza missed a penalty for struggling Almeria as they drew 0-0 with Espanyol.
The midfielder blasted the spot-kick over the bar in the 24th minute to squander a chance to move his side away from relegation zone.
Despite this, the goalless draw lifted Almeria out of the bottom three on goal difference, as Espanyol missed the chance to move into the top half of the table.
Athletic Bilbao's Markel Susaeta scored one but then missed a chance to double his tally from the penalty spot as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Sevilla.
A Primera Division meeting between two of the league's in-form teams promised much and sparked quickly into life with Alberto Moreno putting the hosts ahead inside five minutes before Susaeta capitalised on an error in the Sevilla defence to level.
The stalemate extends Sevilla's unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games and sees them climb a place to seventh, while Athletic stay fourth after seeing their run of three straight La Liga wins brought to an end.