David Villa scored twice from the penalty spot to help Valencia to a 4-1 victory at home to Getafe in the Primera Liga on Sunday, putting them back in the hunt for a place in next season's Champions League.
Unai Emery's side moved up to fifth on 46 points with nine games left, three above Atletico Madrid who fell 4-2 at home Osasuna, and just two short of near neighbours Villarreal in the last Champions League qualification slot.
Barcelona are top with 72 points, six ahead of Real Madrid after both won 1-0 away against Real Valladolid and Malaga respectively on Saturday.
Sevilla are third with 57 points after beating Recreativo Huelva 1-0 away on Saturday, when fourth-placed Villarreal slumped 3-0 at Almeria.
At the Mestalla, David Silva set up Juan Mata for Valencia's opener with a superb pass in the 20th minute, and soon after tumbled for Villa to score from the penalty spot.
Francisco Casquero pulled one back for the visitors with another dubious penalty just after the break, but defender Raul Albiol blasted in a long-range third for Valencia.
Villa was brought down for another penalty, after which visiting goalkeeper Jacobo Sanz was sent off, and the Spain international netted his 21st goal of the campaign.
In Sunday's late game, Racing Santander moved back into tenth place in the table thanks to a 2-0 win at Sporting Gijon. After a goalless first half, Racing took the lead with a goal by Nikola Zigic after 54 minutes. A goal from Gonzalo Colsa a minute from time made the game safe.