Villarreal took a huge step to securing their position in La Liga on Tuesday with a 3-2 away victory over relegation rivals Sporting Gijon.
Sporting, meanwhile, are almost certainly returning to the second rung of Spanish football after three seasons in the top division. Full-back Mario Gaspar put the away team ahead on 19 minutes only for Alberto Lora to level 20 minutes later.
The all important third goal came from the penalty spot when Marcos Senna put Villarreal ahead just before half-time after Sporting defender Gregory Arnolin had inexplicably brought down Marco Ruben. Hernan Perez added a third on 56 minutes and although Alejandro Galvez gave the home team some hope with five minutes remaining, it was Villarreal who deservedly took the crucial three points.
The referee threatened to remove the teams in injury time as the home fans showed their discontent by throwing objects onto the pitch.
With only two games remaining, Villarreal, who reached the UEFAEuropa League semi-final last season and narrowly lost a UEFA Champions League semi-final to Arsenal in 2006, move seven points clear of Sporting in a game that was always going to be decisive for the losers.
Villarreal will be safe if Real Zaragoza fail to beat Levante on Wednesday, while Sporting's only hope of survival can come with gaining two wins in their final two games and hoping Rayo Vallecano, currently six points ahead, do not pick up another point.
Ighalo spurs Granada
Earlier, Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo scored a first-half double for Granada to help the Andalusian club to a vital 2-1 home win over Espanyol that also almost guarantees they will be playing in the first division next season.
Didac Vila got a goal back for Espanyol, but Granada hung on for the win that puts them eight points clear of Sporting, who now can't catch them, and Zaragoza who play on Wednesday. If Zaragoza fail to beat Levante at home then Granada will be playing their second season in La Liga since 1976 after their promotion back to the top division last summer.
Also on Tuesday, Getafe wasted a chance to improve their hopes of qualifying for next season's Europa League after drawing 1-1 at home to already relegated Racing Santander.Miku scored a 59th minute penalty for the home team, but Pape Diop levelled the game five minutes later to earn a deserved point for Racing.
Getafe remain tenth with 46 points, only three points from a Europa League place, but seem destined to miss out on Europe as a host of teams above them play on Wednesday. Finally, Real Madrid will win their first league in four seasons on Wednesday if they beat Athletic Bilbao or if second-placed Barcelona fail to defeat Malaga.