Atletico Madrid earned three precious points against mid-table Sevilla in a hard-fought and scrappy game, with Radamel Falcao scoring the only goal of the game.
The result meant that Diego Simeone's could still leapfrog their arch-rivals Real Madrid into second pace before the end of the season.
The game was a scrappy affair, with more fouls than actual scoring chances, while Falcao was lucky to remain on the field after it looked like a deliberate arm movement towards the face of Cala of Sevilla.
With very few goalscoring opportunities throughout, each side would have to take their chances throughout. Falcao had a chance midway through the first half but decided to cross the ball to the back post instead of attempting the shot.
Alvaro Negredo had a fantastic chance as he received the ball with his back to goal before turning on it and blasting over the bar.
The breakthrough came on 76 minutes when a cross was delivered to the back post and Raul Garcia fired back across the box for Falcao to tap home an easy finish.
Ivan Rakitic had the crossbar rattling in the second half with a tremendous free-kick, but the Madrid-based club held on to earn three key points ahead of next weeks clash with second-placed Real Madrid.
Atletico can take back the second place spot next week if they beat Real Madrid by two or more goals.
With six games to go, time is running out for Atletico to regain second place, which they maintained for the majority of the season.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia and Espanyol, while Real Sociedad, who are on a 14-game unbeaten run, were held in Osasuna and moved two points clear of fifth-placed Valencia.
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