Madrid: David Villa's third and fourth goals of the season helped Valencia beat Malaga 2-0 and reclaim first place in the Spanish league on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Almeria spurned the chance to go to the top and lost their unbeaten record when they fell 2-0 at Valladolid.
Valencia have 10 points and lead Villarreal on goal difference, while Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have nine. Sevilla follow with eight.
Also, it was Recreativo Huelva 1, Athletic Bilbao 1; and Mallorca 2, Numancia 0.
Villa headed the first goal from a scooped cross by midfielder Juanma Mata in the 71st minute at Malaga's La Rosaleda Stadium.
The Spain striker, who top-scored in the European Championship in June, doubled his tally from an injury-time counterattack to give unbeaten Valencia their third win in four matches.
Valencia also came close in the 16th minute when midfielder Manuel Fernandes' deflected free kick hit the post, and it almost conceded in the 53rd but defender Raul Albiol headed Nabil Baha's shot off the line.
Malaga, 19th in the standings and yet to score on their return to the first division, lost substitute Salva Ballesta to a red card in the 88th for a foul on Valencia substitute Edu.
Valladolid midfielder Alvaro Rubio scored in the 65th minute with an inswinging free kick which evaded attackers and Almeria defenders before bouncing into the net.
After Rubio was ejected in the closing stages for his second yellow card, substitute Haris Medunjanin chipped Valladolid's second deep into injury time.
Recreativo striker Javi Guerrero fired home off the post in the 71st minute, with midfielder David Lopez equalizing for Bilbao five minutes later.
Mallorca beat Numancia for their first win of the season courtesy of Jose Manuel Jurado's 12th-minute individual effort and Achille Webo's header from Juan Arango's corner in the 51st.
On Wednesday, Villarreal beat Racing Santander 2-0, defending champion Real Madrid trounced last-place Sporting Gijon 7-1, FC Barcelona edged Real Betis 3-2, Atletico Madrid won 2-1 at Getafe, Sevilla downed Espanyol 2-0 and Osasuna drew 0-0 with Deportivo La Coruna.