Fourth-placed Levante missed the chance to close to within two points of their more illustrious city rivals Valencia in third when they surrendered the lead and were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Racing Santander on Saturday.
A diving header from striker Arouna Kone put Levante ahead in the 23rd minute on a chilly evening in the Mediterranean port city before midfielder Manuel Arana levelled for Santander just past the hour mark.
The draw leaves Levante without a win in six games since they beat Sevilla 1-0 in mid December and puts them on 32 points from 21 matches, four behind Valencia who visit Atletico Madrid in the late game on Sunday.
Leaders Real Madrid can stretch their lead over second-placed Barcelona to 10 points, at least for a few hours, with a win at city rivals Getafe later on Saturday. Champions Barca host Real Sociedad in the late kickoff.
Athletic Bilbao were on the verge of leapfrogging Levante into fourth and a Champions League qualification berth before they conceded a goal in added time in an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Espanyol.
Barcelona-based Espanyol are fifth on 32 points, behind Levante on goal difference, with Bilbao two behind on 30 and Atletico on 29 in seventh.
Real Mallorca climbed away from the relegation places when Gonzalo Castro's fine freekick was enough for a 1-0 win at home to Real Betis.