A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division.
Atletico Madrid overcame a difficult first half to sweep to a 3-0 victory over Valencia and go level on points and goal difference with Barcelona at the top of the Primera Division.
Diego Costa struck the opening goal of a difficult night on 59 minutes, and then Raul Garcia doubled the lead just moments after coming onto the pitch.
Costa missed a penalty and then scored his second attempt from the spot to round off a victory that will further bolster Atletico's title hopes.
Athletic Bilbao's Markel Susaeta scored one but then missed a chance to double his tally from the penalty spot as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Sevilla.
A Primera Division meeting between two of the league's in-form teams promised much and sparked quickly into life with Alberto Moreno putting the hosts ahead inside five minutes before Susaeta capitalised on an error in the Sevilla defence to level.
Susaeta was presented with the chance to put Athletic ahead from the spot moments before the interval but Beto was equal to his effort, making a good low save.
The stalemate extends Sevilla's unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games and sees them climb a place to seventh, while Athletic stay fourth after seeing their run of three straight La Liga wins brought to an end.
Imanol Agirretxe scored twice as Real Sociedad thrashed Real Betis 5-1 to keep the Seville-based club rock bottom.
Agirretxe opened the scoring in the sixth minute and all was relatively calm for Betis following Jorge Molina's equaliser until three goals in just over 10 minutes left them with no hope of claiming a vital victory to climb from the foot of the table.
Jon Ansotegui scored the second in the 55th minute with Antoine Griezmann and Agirretxe weighing in to seal a comfortable victory before Xabi Prieto added insult to injury with a late score.
The result leaves Betis still three points adrift of safety while Sociedad remained in sixth but closed the gap on fifth-placed Villarreal to two points.
Verza missed a penalty for struggling Almeria as they drew 0-0 with Espanyol.
The midfielder blasted the spot-kick over the bar in the 24th minute to squander a chance to move his side away from relegation zone.
Despite this, the goalless draw lifted Almeria out of the bottom three on goal difference, as Espanyol missed the chance to move into the top half of the table.
On Saturday, two goals by Neymar guided leaders Barcelona to a 2-1 victory over Villarreal at the Nou Camp.
Neymar converted a penalty after Mario Gaspar had handled the ball, only for the visitors to equalise through Mateo Musacchio's fierce header three minutes after the break.
Barcelona were finding Villarreal's defence tough to break down but they eventually found their way through in the 68th minute when Neymar fired home a simple goal.
Victory moves Barcelona five points ahead of Real Madrid who were held 2-2 by Osasuna earlier on Saturday.
Real fought back from two goals and a man down to salvage a draw with Osasuna in Pamplona.
Oriol Riera struck twice for the hosts in the first half and an Osasuna win looked all the more certain when Sergio Ramos was sent off for two bookable offences.
However, Isco gave Madrid hope by scoring just moments before half-time and a headed goal by Pepe completed the comeback on 80 minutes, by which time Osasuna had also been reduced to 10 men, with Francisco Silva dismissed for picking up two yellow cards.
Ten-man Rayo Vallecano are in danger of slipping back into the relegation zone after they were beaten 2-0 by Granada in what was their sixth home defeat of the season.
Fran Rico put the visitors ahead with a free-kick on 35 minutes and Paco Jemez's side were dealt another blow before half-time as full-back Nacho was sent off for receiving two bookings, the latter for diving to win a penalty.
Rayo fought hard for an equaliser for the remaining 45 minutes despite their numerical disadvantage, but lost all hope when Riki added a second for Granada in the 88th minute.
Malaga beat Getafe 1-0 in the final match of the day, with substitute Roque Santa Cruz netting the 75th-minute winner, moments after stepping off the bench.
On Friday, a late goal from David Barral saw Levante end a miserable run of form with a much needed 2-1 come-from-behind home win over Elche.
Levante had lost five in a row in all competitions coming into the match but got three points to stop their slide down the table.
It looked like being a familiar story when Cristian Sapunaru put the visitors in front after 26 minutes but Barral levelled four minutes before the break and then headed in the winner with 10 minutes to go.