Villarreal enjoyed a drama-filled evening on Thursday after seeing off strugglers Espanyol.
The Yellows dominated from the off at Estadio de la Ceramica, but couldn’t convert their chances. The stunner game just before half-time, when Javi Puado rifled home after the home side failed to clear a corner.
Espanyol were expected to dig in from that point, given they are fighting for survival, but even the brilliant Fernando Pacheco was powerless to stop a huge response from Villarreal in the second half.
Etienne Capoue scored a screamer from outside the box, and the Yellows then won a penalty after a clear handball. Dani Parejo’s penalty was tipped onto the post, but the midfielder tapped home the rebound from close range.
The script was momentarily ripped up when Pau Torres slipped on an apparently overwatered pitch - with players slipping all night. The slip allowed Espanyol through on goal, and Joselu finished off the move to level the scores.
Villarreal responded again, though, with Nicolas Jackson scoring with an excellent finish, and there was even time for Capoue to grab a second, sweeping home from a corner.
Edu Exposito was also sent off in the dying minutes for a mis-timed challenge, and Espanyol are now in big trouble after Valencia won on Thursday night.
As for Villarreal, they now move up to fifth place, above Real Betis, and to within five points of Real Sociedad in fourth. Meanwhile, Athletic Club lost on Thursday night, meaning they now slip four points behind the Yellows.