Real Betis consolidated their advantage over Malaga in fourth place, but were thankful to goalkeeper Adrian for a string of late saves to salvage a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
The hosts could not have wished for a better start as Ruben Castro put them in front from the penalty spot after just two minutes following Gorka Iraizoz's foul on Salva Sevilla.
But after Adrian produced his first impressive save of the night to turn behind a brilliant volley from Ander Herrera, Athletic levelled four minutes before half-time as Aritz Aduriz showed wonderful composure to scoop Ander's through-ball over the advancing keeper.
Both sides had chances to win it after the break with Jorge Molina the main culprit for the hosts, but it was Adrian who stole the show as he made late saves from Aduriz and Markel Susaeta to ensure his side did not fall to a sixth home defeat of the season.
Athletic started the match just three points above the relegation zone after wins for Granada and Osasuna over the weekend and Marcelo Bielsa's men looked set to be dragged even further into the relegation mix after a terrible opening 10 minutes.
Iraizoz was rightly adjudged to have clipped Sevilla just inside the area in Betis' first attack of the game and Castro gave the keeper no chance with the resulting penalty as he slotted away his 12th league goal of the season.
However, thereafter it was the visitors who dominated and they could count themselves unlucky not to return home with all three points with Aduriz's strike before the break giving them all momentum in the second stanza.
Betis clung on in the final few minutes to restore their three-point gap over Malaga in the race for the final Champions League place.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report