Deportivo La Coruna got the perfect start under new coach Domingos Paciencia with a second-half Luis Pizzi strike giving them a 1-0 win over high-flying Malaga which took it off the bottom of La Liga.
Malaga appeared to be still on its holidays against a Depor side eager to impress Paciencia after a disappointing return to the top flight particularly in defence where it has conceded 39 goals so far.
Paciencia has a record as a strong defensive coach and although in charge for a handful of training sessions there was a marked improvement while it also carried a threat going forward.
The first moment of danger for Malaga came from a shot by Bruno Gama from a tight angle that was well saved by goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Pizzi hit a post with a 25-yard free-kick after 32 minutes and as Depor continued to press, Andre Santos played in Gama whose first touch let him down and Caballero smothered his shot. Still Malaga could have gone ahead before the break but Joaquin Sanchez was denied by a good block from Daniel Aranzubia.
Pizzi finally made the breakthrough after 57 minutes as he latched onto a bad pass from Jesus Gamez and rounded Martin Demichelis before firing into the roof of the net.
Even a goal behind Malaga was lacklustre and Deportivo hung on without too many problems to claim a crucial win in its bid to avoid the drop.
Meanwhile an Emir Spahic header gave Sevilla a 1-0 win over Osasuna and took some of the pressure off coach Jose Miguel Gonzalez Michel.
Lazio closed the gap on Serie A leader Juventus to five points on Saturday thanks to two late goals in a dramatic 2-1 win over nine-man Cagliari.
The results: On Saturday: Spanish league: Granada 1 (Angulo 50) lost to Valencia 2 (Jonas 59, Piatti 82); Levante 3 (Lell 26, Iborra 45, Nabil El Zhar 69) bt Athletic Bilbao 1 (Aduriz 6); Deportivo La Coruna 1 (Pizzi 57) bt Malaga 0; Sevilla 1 (Spahic 83) bt Osasuna 0.
Italian league: Catania 0 drew with Torino 0; Lazio 2 (Konko 79, Candreva 86-pen) bt Cagliari 1 (Sau 62).