MADRID - Valencia missed out on the chance of spending the mid-winter break in third place when they were held to a 0-0 draw at La Liga rivals Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Depor's Juan Carlos Valeron came closest to breaking the deadlock when he headed against the crossbar just before half-time.
Valencia stay fourth with 29 points from 15 games, one behind third-placed Sevilla who lost 2-1 at home to Getafe on Saturday.
Leaders and new world club champions Barcelona have 39 points, two ahead of Real Madrid who trounced Real Zaragoza 6-0 on Saturday.
Real Mallorca are fifth with 27 points, the same as Deportivo in sixth, after losing 2-1 at lowly Malaga.
Espanyol scored for the first time in six matches to win 2-0 against fellow strugglers Almeria, who responded to defeat by sacking coach Hugo Sanchez.
Javi Marquez volleyed in for the home team just before the break and Ferran Corominas put away a loose ball nine minutes from time to leave 17th-placed Almeria with only one point from five games.
"The president of the club Alfonso Garcia and vice-president Ricardo Martinez met for an hour with the coach and his number two after the game," Almeria said in a statement.
"After analysing the situation of the team, the president informed Hugo Sanchez and Sergio Egea they were sacked."
Former Real Madrid and Mexico striker Sanchez replaced Gonzalo Arconada as coach a year ago.
After a run of five straight defeats Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino will breathe a little easier as his side climbed to 13th on 16 points.
Malaga rose to 18th with a surprise 2-1 home win over high-flying Mallorca, their second victory this season.
Errors by Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate gifted goals to Fernando and Fernando Forestieri and ended a run of five consecutive draws for Malaga. Villarreal continued to climb away from trouble with a 2-0 win over Racing that put them ninth with 21 points.
Atletico Madrid, in 15th spot on 14 points, had goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to thank for a 1-1 draw at Tenerife as he saved a first-half penalty from Nino.
La Liga fixtures resume on January 2.comments