Valladolid coach Javier Clemente enjoyed a winning home debut as the relegation-threatened side beat UEFA Champions League hopefuls Sevilla 2-1 at home on Tuesday to boost their hopes of staying up, moving three points from safety.
It is a major setback for Sevilla and their Champions League hopes with the club staying fourth although Real Mallorca can go three points ahead of them with victory over Real Zaragoza on Wednesday.
Valladolid had just one win in the last 16 games before the game but 60-year-old veteran coach Clemente - who coached Spain from 1992 to 1998 - has made it four points from his two games at the helm to enhance their chances of beating the drop. "Tonight the players played like they can do," said Clemente. "I am not worried about the results of other teams just those of my team."
Attacker Diego Costa headed his eighth goal of the season on 41 minutes to put Valladolid ahead and Angolan striker Mateus Manucho, briefly on Manchester United's books, struck a second on 53 minutes. Juan Cala got a late goal back for Sevilla with a sweet 25-yard strike but Valladolid clung on with goalkeeper Jacobo Ovejero making two big saves in the closing stages.
It was a ninth defeat on the road and the performance and result does little for the fading chances of interim manager Antonio Alvarez, who replaced Manolo Jimenez, to get the job on a permanent basis. "Valladolid were better for an hour and by the time we could react it was too late," said Alvarez. "They won all the aerial battles and played with real desire."
Elsewhere Tenerife finally won their first away game of the season triumphing 2-0 at Sporting Gijon to move two points from safety. Late goals from Roman Martinez (70 min) and Alejandro Alfaro (87) helped promoted Tenerife win away after 16 failed attempts and fourth from bottom Malaga, two points ahead of Tenerife, are now looking over their shoulder nervously.
In the other match Getafe beat rivals Villarreal 3-0 at home to move a point off the top six. A goalkeeping mistake from Spanish international Diego Lopez allowed Miku Flores to stroke home the opener on 56 minutes and the Venezuelan forward got a second late on after left back Mane had curled a free-kick home from long range.
"This was a crucial win over a direct rival and pushes us closer to the European spots," said Miku. Villarreal had earlier hit the post through Giuseppe Rossi and rued the miss as Getafe ended their three-match winning sequence to move a point above them in the standings one point behind Athletic Bilbao.
Table-toppers Barcelona take to the field on Wednesday when they host Deportivo La Coruna at Camp Nou. Barcelona are three points clear of Real Madrid after beating their arch rivals 2-0 in Saturday's 'El Clasico' putting them in the box seat with seven games left.
The champions suffered a blow on Tuesday when midfielder Andres Iniesta tore a muscle in training and is out for a month meaning he misses the title run-in and faces a real battle to make the Champions League final on 22 May should semi-finalists Barcelona get past Inter Milan. "It is one of the most difficult moments I have had to experience but life has shown me never to give up," said Iniesta.
Real Madrid are in action on Thursday when they travel to Almeria knowing they will have to win all seven games and hope Barcelona slip up to have a shot at winning the league title.