Argentine midfielder Fazio was Sevilla’s hero scoring twice as the club boosted their chances of a second successive season in the Champions League with a 3-0 win at rivals Racing Santander on Wednesday.
Fazio scored in both halves as Sevilla leapfrogged Racing into fifth and they are now level on points with fourth-placed Atletico.
Racing, who have never played in Europe’s flagship competition, are two points behind Sevilla as they rued a first half penalty miss from Aldo Duscher with the score at 0-0.
Atletico remain in pole position to take fourth but can not afford to slip up when they travel to Espanyol on Thursday.
Racing were awarded a penalty on the quarter hour mark after an Ivica Dragutinovic handball but Duscher smashed the spot-kick against the crossbar.
It was a big miss and Sevilla made the hosts pay when Fazio opened the scoring with a towering header on the half hour mark.
A thunderstorm and torrential rainfall accompanied the second half but Sevilla coped better and Fazio scored his second and Renato’s deflected shot late on wrapped up the game.
Elsewhere Kings Cup winners Valencia are virtually safe after a 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza.
A goal from Daniel Silva, who was also sent off, guided Valencia five points from the drop after a torrid league campaign.
Veteran Roberto Ayala returned to Valencia, where he spent sevens winning league titles in 2002 and 2004, but it was no happy homecoming for the Argentine and his Zaragoza side stay two points above relegation.
Osasuna lost 2-1 at Real Mallorca and stay third from bottom while Recreativo Huelva stay level on 40 points after a 2-0 defeat by Villarreal.
An 18th goal of the season from Turk Nihat ensured second-placed Villarreal put more pressure on Barcelona ahead of their titanic clash with Real as they now trail Villarreal by seven points.
Getafe came from two goals down to win 4-2 over Almeria and are now five points clear of the drop.
In the late feature match recently-crowned champions Real Madrid pick up their 31st Spanish league trophy against arch rivals Barcelona in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Barca players will have to greet champions Real in the guard of honour and coach Frank Rijkaard admitted it will be painful.
“It is a tradition in Spain and simply a sporting act, it hurts, because we would have liked to have been the protagonists, but it is a sporting act,” Rijkaard said.
Barca are out to avenge their 1-0 defeat to Real at Camp Nou and need the points as they target second.
Having retained the championship – something they had not done since 1990 – Real have nothing to play but will want to beat Barca so their fans can continue the celebrations.
“The only thing left for us this season is to beat Barca,” said Real coach Bernd Schuster. “Beating them at home in front of our fans would round off the season perfectly.”
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