Ernesto Valverde’s impressive Athletic Bilbao beat Sevilla 2-0 on Thursday to move provisionally third in LaLiga, ahead of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Spanish champions Barca face Las Palmas later looking to take third place and cut the gap on leaders Real Madrid and Girona, who both won on Wednesday.
Athletic, without talisman striker Inaki Williams – heading to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana – secured a solid away win through goals from Mikel Vesga and Aitor Paredes.
Vesga broke the deadlock in the 30th minute with a header and Paredes rolled home the second in the final stages to help Los Leones clinch their sixth win from their last eight LaLiga games.
Athletic rise to 38 points, 10 behind Real Madrid and Girona, level with Atletico and Barca before their match at Las Palmas.
Sevilla, who appointed new coach Quique Sanchez Flores in December, languish in 16th, just one point above the relegation zone.
RESULTS ON THURSDAY:
Osasuna 1 (Budimir 27) Almeria 0
Sevilla 0 Athletic Bilbao 2 (Vesga 30, Paredes 76)
Las Palmas v Barcelona