MADRID: A change in coach offered Valencia little respite as they lost 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Wednesday in caretaker manager Voro's first game back in charge, effectively ending their bid to qualify for the Champions League.
Elsewhere, Villarreal earned a fifth win in six matches by beating Real Betis 2-0 away from home to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish, while Real Valladolid missed a stoppage-time penalty to draw 0-0 at home to Levante.
Granada won 2-0 at free-falling Alaves to climb above Valencia into ninth in the standings.
Raul Garcia netted in each half to condemn Valencia to a third successive defeat, scoring in the 13th minute with a strike from close range and smashing home from outside the area early in the second half.
Valencia sacked coach Albert Celades on Monday following defeats by Eibar and Villarreal, calling on loyal club servant Voro to take temporary charge of the team for the fifth time since 2008.
Celades is the second coach owner Peter Lim has sacked this season and the sixth dismissed since 2014, but the Singaporean billionaire was spared the wrath of Valencia's usually vociferous supporters as fans are still banned from entering stadiums in Spain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The win took Athletic up to seventh in the standings on 48 points while Valencia are 10th on 46, effectively falling out of contention of Champions League qualification as they trail fourth-placed Sevilla by 11 points with five games left.
Villarreal saw off Real Betis with two goals in the first half from Gerard Moreno while Betis had forward Nabil Fekir sent off on the stroke of halftime.
Villarreal stayed in fifth place on 54 points, three behind Sevilla, who occupy the final Champions League berth.
Valladolid missed the opportunity to open up a nine-point gap with the relegation zone after Turkish forward Enes Unal saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez.
Valladolid are 14th on 36 points, one above Alaves who were beaten 2-0 at home to Granada and are hovering six above the relegation zone after four defeats in a row. Agencies