Striker Munir El Haddadi was the hero for Alavés as his second half goal propelled his team three points clear of fellow relegation strugglers Málaga at the Mendizorrotza.
The Spaniard, who is on loan from league leaders Barcelona, volleyed accurately past goalkeeper Roberto Jiménez on the hour mark to score the solitary and decisive goal of the game.
Alavés suffered a late scare when Paul Baysse’s header flashed wide moments before the end, but held on for a victory which takes them level with Deportivo on 15 points.
In what was a crucial game near the foot of the table, it was Alavés who started the stronger. Munir threatened on two occasions but his efforts were saved by Jiménez.
Venezuelan Adelberto Penaranda looked most likely to score for Málaga with a header and narrow miss, either side of Javier Ontiveros’ speculative long-range strike which was well stopped by Alavés keeper Fernando Pacheco.
In the second period, Munir grew further into the game and really should of scored, first striking the crossbar from close-range before another attempt zipped just wide of the post.
With half an hour left to play, Munir found the breakthrough, latching onto Rubén Duarte’s flicked header to bury a perfectly timed volley into the corner.
After the foundation of an opening goal, Alavés were unable to score again, and their delicate lead was tested when Ignacio Miquel’s header came close following a Recio corner.
Approaching injury time, Paul Baysse squandered Málaga’s final chance to salvage a point with a stray header to leave manager Míchel and his side in even more jeopardy as they fight to maintain their La Liga status.