MADRID: Valencia ended a miserable week on a high when they came from behind to snatch a 3-2 win at struggling 10-man Deportivo La Coruna that lifted them to fifth in La Liga on Saturday.
Ernesto Valverde's side suffered a humiliating 5-0 drubbing at home to Real Madrid last weekend and were dumped out of the King's Cup by the same opponents in Wednesday's quarter-final second leg.
Saturday's much-needed but rather unconvincing victory against the league's bottom club kept them above Levante on goal difference after their city rivals won 2-1 at home to Real Valladolid in the earlier kickoff.
Through to the last 16 of Europe's elite club competition to face Paris St Germain, Valencia had the perfect start at the Riazor when Jonas nodded them in front with barely 30 seconds on the clock.
However, Riki levelled with a header in the 32nd minute and then put the home side in front in first-half added time with a Lionel Messi-like dash in from the right and low left-foot strike into the net.
Depor were reduced to 10 men when Silvio earned a second yellow card early in the second half and Nelson Valdez made it 2-2 just after the hour.
Depor, whose financial problems forced them into administration this month, held on until the second minute of added time when Valencia captain Ricardo Costa headed powerfully home to make it 3-2.
Their misery was compounded when midfielder Paulo Assuncao was harshly sent off a minute later and they stay bottom with just 16 points from 21 matches.
Levante boosted their chances of qualifying for Europe for only the second time in their history when they fought back from a goal down to see off Valladolid.
Drawn against Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus in the last 32 of the Europa League on their debut in continental competition, Levante fell behind to a fine Javier Baraja volley from just outside the penalty area in the eighth minute.
However, Jose Javier Barkero curled in a superb free kick a minute before halftime and Valladolid defender Antonio Rukavina scuffed the ball into his own net in the 90th minute to hand victory to the home side.
With just over half the season played, Levante have 33 points in sixth, level with Valencia and one ahead of Malaga, who play at Real Mallorca on Sunday (2000 GMT). Valladolid are 10th on 28 points.
“A very good team came here today and looking at the big picture either of the two could have won,” Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez told a news conference.
“The team showed maturity and they are 33 fabulous points,” he added.
Leaders Barcelona are looking to get back to winning ways when they host struggling Osasuna on Sunday (1800).
Tito Vilanova's side lost their unbeaten record and dropped points for only the second time this season when they suffered a 3-2 reverse at Real Sociedad last weekend but still have an eight-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Atletico will be missing injured top scorer Radamel Falcao when they play at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday (2000), while Real Madrid, seven points behind their city rivals in third, host Getafe (1100) without goalkeeper Iker Casillas who fractured a bone in his hand in Wednesday's King's Cup game at Valencia.
San Sebastian-based Sociedad failed to build on their impressive win against Barca and were held to a 1-1 draw at 10-man Celta Vigo in Saturday's earlier kickoff. The Basque club are ninth on 30 points and Celta are 16th on 20.
Real Zaragoza and Espanyol both had a player sent off in the second half of an ill-tempered 0-0 stalemate in Zaragoza that left them 13th and 14th in the standings respectively.