Real Valladolid took a step towards La Liga safety on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Espanyol, as fellow relegation candidates Osasuna lost.
There was action at both ends of the La Liga table with Barcelona giving up a lead twice to draw 2-2 with Getafe at the Camp Nou to seriously dent the Catalans’ title hopes, while at the base of the standings, Valladolid claimed a vital three points.
Antonio Rukavina’s long-range half-volley gave Valladolid victory over a hapless Espanyol side, who are winless in six matches, and the three points sent the Castile and Leon-based club level with Osasuna on 35 points on the edge of the relegation zone.
Osasuna succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at home at the hands of Celta de Vigo on Saturday with rampant Spanish striker Nolito scoring a brace for the visitors.
Although Osasuna’s head-to-head record with Valladolid keeps them just out of the drop zone ahead of Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men, the latter have a game in hand.
In Valladolid, Rukavina scored the only goal of the game in the 20th minute when a long throw into Espanyol’s penalty area was cleared towards the Serbian full-back and he unleashed a first-time shot from 20 yards into the bottom corner of the net.
Espanyol’s hopes of securing an equaliser suffered a blow with 18 minutes remaining as Portuguese forward Pizzi was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Valladolid held on for their first win in four league fixtures, while the visitors suffered their fifth defeat in six games.
Martinez’s side could move out of the relegation zone on Wednesday, above Osasuna, when they play their game in hand, although they will have to take at least a point from Real Madrid, who will visit Valladolid’s Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla.
In Pamplona, Nolito and Fabian Orellana combined to destroy Osasuna with the latter setting up the former twice in the first half.
Nolito opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a delightful chip over Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez after Orellana had pierced the home side’s defence.
The Chilean midfielder teed up Nolito again 14 minutes later with a cross from the right wing, which the 27-year-old striker half-volleyed back across Fernandez and into the net.
Nolito moved to 14 goals in La Liga this season and the former Benfica and Granada man registered his third successive brace and his seventh goal in four matches.
The victory took Celta to eighth in the table, one point ahead of Valencia, who will play Real on Sunday.
In Barcelona, Getafe did fellow capital clubs Real and Atletico Madrid a favour with Lafita twice equalising for the visitors at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the 23rd minute but Lafita equalised eight minutes before half-time.
Alexis Sanchez’s opportunistic shot in a crowded penalty area put the hosts in front again in the 67th minute but in the second minute of stoppage time, Jaime Gavilan picked out Lafita at the back post and the 29-year-old headed past Jose Manuel Pinto.
In the other match, Garry Rodrigues scored early as Elche defeated Malaga 1-0, despite having both Tono and Alberto Botia sent off in the second half.