Villarreal closed in on the top four with a superb home win over direct rivals Real Sociedad on Sunday.
The Yellows knew they needed to come out on top to keep their top four hopes alive, going into the game seven points behind La Real.
And come out on top they did in a game that could have gone either way, in truth. But Villarreal took control of the game around the 70-minute mark, with Nicolas Jackson entering the fray.
Though, it was Samu Chukwueze who broke the stalemate, tip-toeing his way through the La Real defence before being brought down inside the box. Dani Parejo then dispatched the spot-kick with ease, sending Alex Remiro the wrong way.
It got better, too, with Jackson cutting inside before picking out the bottom corner.
It was Jackson’s best performance of a difficult season so far for the striker, but he would be sent off before the final whistle.
Jackson was unlucky to get a yellow card for pulling his shirt up - not taking it off - and just before full-time, he got another - and more deserved - yellow card for a mistimed challenge.
In any case, Villarreal wound up cruising to a 2-0 win, moving to within four points of La Real in fourth. With Real Betis also losing, Villarreal are now one point behind Betis and a rather comfortable seven points ahead of Athletic Club in seventh.
The top four race is on.