Thursday’s early games held some crucial opportunities for all four teams, but only one of them will have been happy with their night’s work.
Valencia 3-0 Real Betis
Real Betis travelled to Mestalla knowing that they could move into third before the break, while Los Che were hoping to snap a six-game winless streak.
It was a fairly even in the first half with Valencia perhaps making more of the running, although Betis forced a good save from Giorgi Mamardashvili via Juan Cruz towards the end of the half.
The match turned on the hour mark though, with Edgar Gonzalez picking up a second yellow for a foul on Samuel Lino. Andre Almeida arrowed the resulting free-kick into the top corner.
Los Verdiblancos were sunk from that point on and Valencia were well in control. An 82nd-minute penalty from Hugo Guillamon sealed the match and Justin Kluivert added the gloss in stoppage time, driving through the rain.
Valencia can breathe a sigh of relief after a tough run, while Real Betis will be left working out how they have finished sixth before the World Cup after such a strong first section of the season.
Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Celta Vigo
Rayo Vallecano could have gone sixth with a handsome win over struggling Celta on Thursday evening, but they dealt with something of comedown after a heroic victory over Real Madrid on Monday.
They pushed for most of the match against Celta, but could not find sufficient openings in order to get the crucial goal that would have opened the match up. The stout Galician defence looked determined not to concede and if that was their target, they went back north content.
The point is Carlos Carvalhal’s first as Celta boss and allows them out of the relegation zone into 17th for the next eight weeks. Rayo cannot be disappointed with eighth position at this stage either.