Filipe Luis' first-half goal was enough as Atletico Madrid took a further step towards Champions League qualification with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad which opens up a three-point gap ahead of Sevilla.
Diego Simeone's men were irresistible at times in the first half at the Vicente Calderon and, although they faded a little after the break, their brilliant defence helped secure a fifth successive LaLiga win, piling more pressure on Sevilla ahead of their trip to Barcelona on Wednesday.
Atletico were slow to get going, but once they found their stride Real Sociedad struggled to keep them quiet and Filipe Luis finally gave them the lead in the 28th minute, finishing off a brilliant attack with his second goal in as many matches.
Fernando Torres should have added a second shortly after when he hit the post from close range, and then Geronimo Rulli had to be alert a few moments before the break as Atletico finished the half-time well on top.
Atletico's bombardment failed to continue into the second half as La Real improved again, but the hosts' typically solid defensive unit did not give an inch.
La Real's lack of creativity was ultimately their undoing, as they simply grew frustrated and Atletico saw things out with little difficulty.
Atletico were guilty of a very sluggish start and their visitors looked significantly livelier going forward.
But they eventually came to life 19 minutes in – Juanfran latching on to Koke's defence-splitting pass before cutting the ball back to the edge of the box and Antoine Griezmann saw his drive deflected agonisingly wide of the post.
La Real did not get so lucky just before the half-hour mark, though.
Filipe Luis darted in from the left, exchanging passes with Griezmann before then also playing a one-two with Torres and prodding past the goalkeeper from 12 yards to cap a wonderful move.
Atletico should have doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break when Yannick Carrasco set Torres up with a precise low cross, only for the striker to hit the post from six yards with a gaping goal at his mercy.
And they wasted another two glorious chances on the stroke of half-time – Carrasco shooting straight at Rulli when teed up by Griezmann, with Filipe Luis then doing the same on the rebound.
Atletico's play was rather more disjointed at the start of the second half and La Real were encouraged by that, becoming increasingly in prominent in possession.
But, like when they were on top during the first 15 minutes of the match, the visitors were unable to really worry the Atletico defence and Jan Oblak remained untested.
La Real dominated possession for the final 20 minutes without ever appearing to have any direction, with Eusebio Sacristan's men devoid of craft.
Angel Correa should have finished La Real off late on when he fired wide from just inside the area, but it mattered little as Atletico held on.
Key Opta Facts:
- Atletico Madrid have won their last five games in LaLiga, their best run since April 2016 when they won six.
- Filipe Luis has scored in back-to-back games for the first time in his 297 LaLiga appearances.
- Real Sociedad have only won 25 per cent of their LaLiga games without Asier Illarramendi since his return last season (W2 D3 L3), meanwhile they won 44 per cent with him.
- Fernando Torres has made five assists in La Liga 2016/17, equalling his best tally in a single LaLiga season (five in 2006/07).
- Atletico have kept more clean sheets than any other side in Europe's top five leagues in 2017, alongside Juventus (eight apiece).