Two late goals gave big-spending Malaga a 2-1 win at Espanyol on Sunday which moved them into fourth spot in La Liga and well-placed for a Champions League place.
Malaga were a goal down for most of the match in Barcelona after Brazilian forward Philippe Coutinho scored his fourth goal in four matches.
However, two late goals in two minutes from Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Martin Demichelis changed the game and ensured the points went to the Costa del Sol.
Malaga have 47 points, the same as third-placed Valencia.
Levante are fifth, three points back, after losing 2-0 at home to Osasuna.
Raul Garcia got the first early on, assisted by Nino, and repaid the favour in the second-half for Nino to grab the second, as Osasuna put in a strong performance.
The win moves the club from Pamplona up to sixth place on 43 points, one behind Levante.
Bottom club Zaragoza continued their good form beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 with a last-minute penalty converted by Apono after Diego Godin fouled Hector Postiga in the 94th minute.
After months adrift at the bottom, the result dragged Zaragoza level in the relegation zone on 25 points with Sporting Gijon and Racing Santander who both got 1-1 draws away at Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis.
Athletic looked to be on course for a deserved victory when Oscar De Marcos scored with 13 minutes remaining, but Alberto Lora hit a last-minute equaliser to earn a valuable point for Sporting.
Christian Stuani came off the bench and scored almost immediately on 78 minutes to grab an equaliser for Racing after former Manchester City forward Roque Santa Cruz had put Betis ahead in the first-half.
Despite encouraging results, all three clubs in the relegation zone find themselves six points from safety after Villarreal managed an important 2-0 away victory at Rayo Vallecano thanks to a Marco Ruben goal on 29 minutes and an Angel Perez strike five minutes from time.
On Saturday, Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 5-1 to remain six points clear of Barcelona, who won 2-0 at Mallorca, at the top.
Valencia lost 3-1 at Getafe while Granada entertain Sevilla on Monday.