MADRID (AFP) Sevilla breathed new life into their Champions League ambitions with a 2-1 victory over fellow European hopefuls Valencia on Sunday with Alvaro Negredo grabbing both goals. It was a key game for Sevilla who had suffered a worrying slump since Christmas, losing three of their last four games but they rose to the occasion against third-placed Valencia. Sevilla took the game to the visitors and were a constant threat down the right-wing while Alexis Ruano struggled in defence. From a 22nd-minute corner Sevilla went ahead as Julien Escude flicked on the ball for Negredo to slot home. Midway through the second half Negredo finished off a well-worked move for Sevillas second, and his seventh of the season. Valencia battled gamely in the later stages with top-scorer David Villa conjuring up a couple of chances before David Navarro scored a consolation goal in injury time. The result moved Sevilla up to fourth place on 36 points, three behind Valencia in third. Barcelona still lead the table with 52 points, five ahead of rivals Real Madrid. Villarreal sacked coach Ernesto Valverde following the clubs 2-0 defeat at home to Osasuna. Valverde, who previously coached Espanyol and Greek side Olympiakos, is the sixth La Liga coach to lose his jop this season. Juanfran Torres scored both Osasunas goals. This was the worst since I have been here. We lost and played really badly, said Valverde after Sundays loss. Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez is another man under pressure after his side crashed 2-0 at home against relegation-threatened Malaga. Malaga took an early lead with an unmarked Sergio Duda firing home after just three minutes. On the counter-attack after the break Malaga grabbed a second though through Javi Lopez as the visitors moved three points off the relegation zone. A brace from Carlos Calvo helped bottom side Xerez come from behind to beat high-flying Mallorca 2-1. Xerez had only one win to their name all season but they took the game to Mallorca from the start. Although they had the bulk of the possession Pierre Webo scored against the run of play for Mallorca mid-way through the first half. In the second half, Xerez deservedly drew level with Calvo firing a right-foot rocket home from 30 yards and then completed the turnaround with a second 12 minutes from time. On Saturday, Karim Benzema scored a brace as Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-1, their first win at the Riazor in almost 20 years. Following Barcelonas 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon earlier in the evening, Real were desperate not to allow their rivals to escape at the top. Esteban Granero headed Real in front after 13 minutes with the game played out in the home sides half. Raul Gonzalez had the chance to add to the lead with a close-range volley before a moment of real quality from Jose Maria Guti. Through on goal, instead of shooting on his weaker right foot, he back-heeled the ball into the path of Benzema to slot home. In a late rally Ivan Riki scored from the penalty spot for Deportivo but Benzema had the last word with a goal in injury-time. Barcelona saw Pedro Rodriguez score the only goal at home to Sporting Gijon when he latched on to a through ball by Andres Iniesta.