Malaga remained third in the Spanish soccer league after drawing 0-0 at struggling Espanyol on Saturday, while Salva Sevilla's early goal gave Real Betis a 1-0 home win over Valencia.
Malaga outplayed Espanyol in the first half, with defender Martin Demichelis coming close with a pair of headers at Cornella-El Prat stadium.
In the relegation-zone, Espanyol rarely bothered Malaga's defence, which remained the best in the league with only five goals conceded in nine games - nor has Malaga allowed a goal in five Champions League matches.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini rested various players after his team's win midweek over AC Milan in the Champions League.
"We didn't come here to take away a draw, but you can't win every time," said Pellegrini. "It was a tightly-contested match and Espanyol deserves the point for all its hard work."
In Seville, Betis midfielder Sevilla drove his volley past goalkeeper Diego Alves, who managed to get a hand to the ball but not enough to keep it out, to score what proved to be the winner in the ninth minute.
Valencia mustered a better effort in the second half but were stymied by goalkeeper Adrian Castillo, who capped a strong performance with a save of Roberto Soldado's strike three minutes from time.
Betis' fourth win of the season lifted them provisionally into fourth place, trailing Malaga by two points. Real Madrid and Sevilla are both two points behind Betis heading into their games on Sunday.
Valencia's away troubles deepened with their fourth consecutive defeat away from Mestalla stadium.
Co-leaders Barcelona will look to extend their unbeaten start at Rayo Vallecano later on Saturday, while Celta Vigo play Deportivo La Coruna in a regional derby.
Atletico Madrid, joint top with Barcelona, host last-placed Osasuna on Sunday before Madrid visit Mallorca.
Also on Sunday, Real Zaragoza play Sevilla, Levante take on Granada and Athletic Bilbao are up against Getafe.
Real Valladolid play Real Sociedad on Monday to close out round nine.