Valencia continued their impressive form by beating Alaves 3-1 at home in La Liga Saturday to climb above Real Madrid into third in the standing and take another step towards returning to the Champions League.
Spain international Rodrigo Moreno put Marcelino's side ahead in the 19th minute by playing a smart one-two off strike partner Simone Zaza and sliding the ball home from close range.
Italian forward Zaza turned in a free kick from Daniel Parejo to consolidate his side's lead in the 34th, although Ruben Sobrino gave Alaves a foothold in the game by getting a goal back four minutes into the second half.
Hope of a comeback from the Basque side were short-lived, however, as defender Victor Laguardia diverted a cross into his own net five minutes later.
Valencia are third in the standing after 29 games with 59 points, two above Real who host Girona Sunday, and 14 clear of fifth-placed Sevilla who go to Leganes.
Marcelino's side will qualify automatically for next season's Champions League by finishing in the top four.
Valencia began the season in fearsome form and were considered title candidate alongside Barcelona until December, when their form tailed off. They are currently on a resurgent run of six wins in their last seven league games and Marcelino praised his side for getting back on track.
Also Saturday relegation-fighting Deportivo la Coruna drew 1-1 at home to fellow struggler Las Palmas, leaving the two sides seven and six points adrift of safety respectively.
Getafe came from behind to win 2-1 at Real Sociedad, prompting an angry reaction from supporters at a soaking wet Anoeta Stadium and piling more pressure on beleaguered coach Eusebio Sacristan, whose side sit 14th in the standing and have lost four of their last six games in all competition.
Leader Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao Sunday and second-placed Atletico Madrid play at Villarreal.
(Albentosa 22) Las Palmas 1
(Rodrigo 19, Zaza 33, Laguardia 54-og) Alaves 1
(Jose 23) Getafe 2
(Djene 45+1, Angel 51)
(Firpo 34, Boudebouz 56, Francis 69) Espanyol 0
Leganes v Sevilla, Barcelona v Athletic, Villarreal v Atletico, Celta v Malaga and Real Madrid v Girona