Madrid : A 2-3 defeat at home to Villarreal effectively finished off Valencia's slender hopes of snatching the Spanish Primera Liga title.
The shock defeat Saturday leaves Valencia fourth in the league with 65 points from 36 games, two points below third-placed Sevilla and four below joint leaders Real Madrid and Barcelona.
However, Valencia remains well placed to return to the Champions League since fifth-placed Zaragoza is still seven points behind it. Diego Forlan – league top scorer two seasons ago – was Villarreal's hero with two goals.
The impressive win takes Villarreal up to sixth in the UEFA Cup zone for the first time this season.
Spain striker David Villa gave Valencia the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, after being pulled down himself by Villarreal keeper Sebastian Viera.
In the 34th minute, however, Forlan levelled for Villarreal with a near-post drive, after being set up by Guille Franco.
From then on Villarreal were in charge, and had several good chances at the start of the second half.
In the 77th minute Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini brought on veteran Danish striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, and the decision immediately paid off, with Tomasson scoring straight away after being set up by Matias Fernandez.
Nine minutes later, with the Valencia defence all at sea, Tomasson set up Forlan to make it 3-1 from close range.
Emiliano Moretti gave Valencia late hope by heading in a free-kick in the 90th minute. But it came too late to save Valencia's title hopes.