Madrid: A quickfire Pablo Piatti double secured a 2-0 win for Valencia at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday that kept them on course to clinch a lucrative berth in the Champions League for next season.
Valencia missed out on a place in Europe last term but their sixth win in their last seven games put them eight points clear of chasing Sevilla, who are fifth, and level with third-placed champions Atletico Madrid, who clash in Seville later on Sunday.
Argentine forward Piatti fired Valencia ahead in the 53rd minute at a sun-drenched Mestalla and made it 2-0 three minutes later after good work down the right from Sofiane Feghouli.
They have 53 points from 25 matches, behind Atletico on goal difference ahead of the pair`s match in Madrid next weekend.
Hopes are high at Valencia that a recent takeover of the club by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim will help them sort out their finances and return to being genuinely competitive in Spain and Europe.
Sociedad, coached by former Manchester United manager David Moyes, are 11th on 27 points, five above the relegation places.
Real Madrid can restore their four-point lead over second-placed Barcelona at the top with a win at home to Villarreal later on Sunday.
Barca trimmed the gap to one point thanks to Saturday`s scrappy 3-1 win at struggling Granada.