Madrid: Villarreal swept into second place in the Spanish first division on Monday with a 3-2 win at Malaga in a game which saw all five goals coming in the first half.
Villarreal had trailed to a fourth-minute goal from Eliseu before Santi Cazorla scored the first of a brace in the 21st minute.
Italian international Giuseppe Rossi then made it 2-1 after 24 minutes before Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon pulled Malaga level, six minutes later.
Cazorla restored Villarreal’s lead in the 33rd minute to end the scoring but not the drama as Portuguese winger Eliseu was sent-off before the break.
Villarreal are a point behind leaders Valencia but ahead of Barcelona on goal difference. Real Madrid are in fourth spot, two points off the lead.
Valencia went top on Saturday after defeating Sporting Gijon 2-0 to make it 13 points from a possible 15.
Barcelona triumphed 3-1 at 10-man Athletic Bilbao to move above Real Madrid who drew 0-0 with Levante.