Radamel Falcao's goal 14 minutes from time was enough to move Atletico Madrid back to within three points of neighbours Real Madrid as they ground out a 1-0 win at Sevilla.
The goal arrived in controversial circumstances as referee Jose Luis Gonzalez didn't spot a handball by Mario Suarez in the build-up and Falcao was on hand to get the faintest of touches to Raul Garcia's driven cross.
However, there was a set-back for Atletico as Diego Costa was booked in the second-half and will now miss the Madrid derby against Real next Saturday.
In a game marked more by late challenges than great football, it was Atletico who started the brightest with Suarez firing just over six minutes in.
However, in a challenge that summed up the frantic nature of the game, Atletico were lucky to still have 11 players on the field five minutes later when Falcao was shown just a yellow card when he caught Cala with a stray elbow as they challenged for a long ball down the middle.
Sevilla then grew into the game but neither Alvaro Negredo or Jose Antonio Reyes could find the target when presented with good sights of goal from the edge of the area.
Costa then had arguably the best chance of the half after a well-worked Atletico free-kick found him free inside the area, but the Brazilian took too many touches and was crowded out by the Sevilla defence.
The intense nature of the game continued after the break, but Thibaut Courtois was forced into his first serious save of the game three minutes after the restart as he got down quickly to parry Coke's powerful downward header from Jesus Navas' cross.
Costa then got his inevitable booking for stupidly complaining to the referee and was sensibly replaced by Diego Simeone soon after with Adrian taking his place alongside Falcao in attack.
And Adrian was to play a crucial part in the only goal of the game as after Suarez's handball went unnoticed, he chipped a lovely ball to the back post which was smashed across goal by Garcia and turned home by Falcao.
Sevilla pushed in vein for a late equaliser but Courtois made another fine save to turn over Negredo's header from close range and Ivan Rakitic was desperately unlucky as his free-kick clipped the bar on its way over in stoppage time.