MADRID, April 1 Racing Santander's chances of making it into Europe next season were boosted as striker Nikola Zigic scored a hat-trick to earn a dramatic 5-4 home win over Athletic Bilbao in the Primera Liga on Sunday.
Bilbao twice took the lead before Racing appeared to stamp their authority on the game to move 4-2 ahead in the second half.
The Basque side scrambled their way back to level at 4-4 with six minutes remaining, but Pedro Munitis threaded a ball through for Serbia striker Zigic to seal the win, two minutes from time.
Racing climbed to seventh on 43 points, one behind sixth-placed Atletico Madrid who could only draw 1-1 at home with Real Mallorca.
Real Zaragoza missed out on the chance to move into the Champions League places when they let slip a two-goal lead away at Getafe to draw 2-2. They are fifth with 47 points.
On Saturday, Barcelona opened up a three-point lead at the top with a 2-1 home win over Deportivo Coruna.
Later on Sunday, second-placed Sevilla were looking to join them on 56 points in a late match at Osasuna, while Real Madrid aimed to claim back third place from Valencia with a victory at Celta Vigo.
Valencia edged out Espanyol 3-2 at the Mestalla on Saturday to move onto 50 points, two more than Real.