Sevilla missed the chance to go top of the Spanish first division after being pegged back to a 1-1 home draw by Racing Santander on Thursday.
Sevilla had gone ahead through a penalty from Spanish international forward Alvaro Negredo on 13 minutes but paid the price for failing to convert their chances as right back Pablo Pinillos equalised on 54 minutes for Racing. A win would have taken unbeaten Sevilla above leaders Real Madrid on goal difference but the draw leaves them in fifth, two points off the summit.
Earlier Brazilian striker Nilmar scored his fourth goal in four games as Villarreal defeated Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 to move above Barcelona into third place. Club record signing Nilmar, who cost €11m from Internacional last summer, found the target on 33 minutes to take him to the top of the La Liga goalscoring charts.
Villarreal lost their opening match 1-0 against Real Sociedad but have since recovered with three consecutive wins and their nine points edges them above Barcelona on goal difference and a point behind leading duo Real Madrid and Valencia.
"It is three important points in a match that was far from easy," said Villarreal coach Javier Garrido. "We are happy with the individual performances and the improved collective performance and we won because of this hard work."
Depor have yet to win this season and their coach Miguel Angel Lotina was frustrated by another toothless display that underlined why they have only scored two goals. "In the second half we didn't pose much of a threat and without goals it is impossible to win," said Lotina. "We had three tame shots at the goalkeeper and we didn't give him the slightest thing to do."
Malaga won 2-0 at Getafe in a heated match that saw both sides reduced to ten men. Malaga went ahead through Venezuelan striker Jose Rondon on 54 minutes and the game went further away from hosts Getafe when defender Rafael Gomez was sent off on the hour mark for conceding a penalty.
Antonio Apono converted the penalty kick to make it 2-0 but their numerical advantage lasted just six minutes as right back Jesus Gamez collected a second yellow card. Malaga saw out the game comfortably with ten against ten and climb to eighth.
Champions Barcelona, playing without the injured Lionel Messi, are on nine points after a narrow 1-0 home win over Sporting Gijon on Wednesday thanks to a goal from Spanish star David Villa. "Not having the best player in the world has an impact but the team has always responded," said Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
Real also found it tough going against Espanyol before two late goals sealed a flattering 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real sit above Valencia, who drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, on goal difference.