Sevilla deserved the victory in a game they dominated from the kick off.
Luis Fabiano opened the scoring after just four minutes after sending a superb header past the hosts’ keeper Lafuente.
Former West Ham and Tottenham striker Frederic Kanoute was sublime on the right wing, mesmerising his marker before delivering a cross which the unmarked Fabiano rose to head into the Athletic goal.
Midfielder Marti added a second minutes later with a little help from Lafuente to give their hosts a mountain to climb.
Athletic were given a glimpse of a share of the points when Aduriz beat Palop in the visitors goal from close range in the 69th minute after a header from a free kick came off the upright.
Fabiano ended that ambition in the last seconds of the game.
Real Madrid escaped the pitfall of losing points on their trip to Valencia, with out-of-favour Spain icon Raul finding the net in the 52nd minute to seal a precious 1-0 win away on the east coast.
That victory, Real’s eighth of the season, means they remain three points adrift of Barcelona but three ahead of Real Zaragoza and still very much in the race for the title.
Raul struck six minutes after the restart, scoring his third league goal of the season after latching on to a superbly-weighted pass from Brazilian wing back Roberto Carlos deep on the left wing.
The Spaniard’s first timer from 12 yards left Valencia’s outstretched keeper Santiago Canizares clutching at thin air.
A goalfest on Spain’s north coast saw Racing Santander triumpth 4-3 over Recreativo Huelva.
Racing striker Nikola Zigic opened the scoring with a 14th-minute header. The visitors levelled when Beto and Racing defender Oriol Lozano bundled into the net before an Ezequiel Garay penalty restored the home side’s advantage.
Gonzalo Colsa made it 3-1 with a delightful lob just before halftime and the visitors suffered another blow when Beto was sent off on the hour.
Nigerian striker Ikechuckwu Uche scored for the visitors but Zigic struck again to make it 4-2. Jesus Vazquez’s 89th-minute free kick came too late to stop Racing making off with the points.
At Estadio Balaídos, Diego Milito, the Argentine striker nodded Zaragoza ahead in the seventh minute but the visitors suffered a setback soon after when midfielder Alberto Zapater was sent off for a second booking.
Celta eventually took advantage of their numerical superiority when Brazilian forward Fernando Baiano levelled with a close-range finish early in the second half.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men when winger Gustavo Lopez was dismissed late on for apparently insulting a linesman. The game ended 1-1.
Osasuna crushed Deportivo Coruna 4-1, with striker Roberto Soldado putting the Navarrans ahead after five minutes when he sent a shot crashing high into the net from 20 metres.
Valdo made it 2-0 when he headed in from a corner. Although Depor midfielder Juan Rodriguez pulled one back, Soldado made it 3-1 with a spectacular second from 30 metres.
Savo Milosevic completed the win with another stunner as Osasuna secured their first win in eight games.
A goaless stalemate at El Coliseo saw neither Levante or Getafe able to manufacture any clear scoring chances during the 90 minutes. Getafe have yet to concede a goal at home this season.
Some quality goals at Nou Estadi saw real Mallorca triumpth 3-2 against Gimnastic. Midfielder Alejandro Campano put Nastic ahead just before the break but well-taken goals from Bosko Jankovic and Victor put the islanders 2-1 up early in the second half.
Nastic substitute Ruben Castro made it 2-2 when he volleyed home from close range but Venezuelan striker Juan Arango snatched a win for the islanders with a superbly taken free kick two minutes from time.
At Estadio Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, Brazilian striker Robert gave Real Betis the lead from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute after he had been brought down in the area by Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni.
Espanyol earned themselves a point, however, when Walter Pandiani, the Uruguayan centre-forward, finished off a slick break with a great volley four minutes into injury time making it 1-1.