Valencia got out of trouble with a last-gasp 4-3 triumph over nine-man Malaga in La Liga on Saturday.
The hosts went into the clash at Estadio de Mestalla as hot favourites, lying 12 better places off on the league table than Malaga.
But despite the threat of relegation hanging over their head, it was Malaga who opened the scoring in the 10th minute via Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon.
The match took a dramatic turn in the 15th minute, however, when Malaga defender Martin Demichelis conceded a penalty and we sent off in the same incident, allowing Mata to equalise from the spot for Valencia.
But Rondon fired his side in front again in spite of their numerical disadvantage, and Malaga took a 2-1 lead into the break.
Valencia predictably fought back when Roberto Soldado levelled the match at 2-2, before Helder Rosario joined team-mate Demichelis in the changerooms when he was sent off in the 65th minute.
Ever Banega gave the hosts the lead for the first time in the match two minutes later, and – with Valencia’s two-man numerical advantage – had seemingly wrapped up the result.
But a long-range curling strike from Julio Baptista in the 79th minute beat Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita to give Manuel Pellegrini’s side a chance at stealing the unlikeliest of points.
The home team finally used their weight of numbers to break down the Malaga defence, however, and Aritz Aduriz gratefully turned in the winner from close range to break Malaga’s hearts and move Valencia into third on the league table ahead of Sunday’s league games.
Barcelona bounced back from their shock mid-week loss to Real Betis in the Copa del Rey to comfortably account for Racing Santander 3-0 at Camp Nou.
The Catalans lost the second leg of their Spanish cup affair in mid-week. Despite advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament on aggregate, the result broke Barca’s 28-game unbeaten streak..
Pep Guardiola’s men put the loss behind them in some style on Saturday, with Pedro, Lionel Messia and Andres Iniesta all finding the back of the net in the victory.
A Luis Fabiano hat-trick helped Sevilla claim a 4-1 victory over Levante at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The 30-year-old Brazilian striker netted in the 28th, 43rd and 68th minutes, with Julien Escude scoring Sevilla’s second goal amid the Fabiano spree in the 39th minute.
Xisco Munoz claimed Levante’s consolation goal in the 58th minute.