Malaga maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over Real Betis with the game turning on an early penalty and the sending off of goalkeeper Casto Espinosa.
Manuel Pellegrini's side now sit in second place on 14 points, one point behind Barcelona, after another fine display of attacking football where they took full advantage of their man extra from the 10th minute.
Casto was red-carded for a foul on Eliseu Pereira and after Joaquin Sanchez converted the penalty, Malaga never looked back.
They had a series of chances with Ignacio Camacho hitting the post with a header and then Javier Saviola slotted home the second after 28 minutes following an exchange with Francisco Portillo.
Midway through the second half Antonio Amaya put the ball through his own net as he intercepted a Nacho Monreal cross and then Isco Alarcon finished clinically to add to Betis' misery.
Goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Jonathan Viera in either half gave Valencia a 2-0 victory over Zaragoza to ease the strain on under-fire coach Mauricio Pellegrino.
Feghouli was dismissed with half an hour to go for his second yellow card.
Later Barcelona take on Sevilla looking to extend their winning start to the campaign to six matches and to increase the pressure on Real Madrid who face Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
With just a week to go before the top two in Spain go head-to-head in the first 'El Clasico' in the league, Barca have built up an eight-point lead over their Madrid rivals whose stuttering start has seen them win just twice.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova admits that it will be a tough test against the Andalusian side who have already beaten Madrid this season.
"They are playing very well at the moment and have conceded few goals so it will be difficult. (Jesus) Navas is combining well with Cicinho and (Alvaro) Negredo is in form. In particular we need to be careful at set-plays," he said.
"We have played well in some games and in others we have been slow to get going but hopefully over the season we will find our rhythm."