Atletico Madrid restored their five-point lead at the top of La Liga with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday.
An Alfonso Pedraza own goal handed Atletico the lead after a lengthy VAR delay in the 25th minute and Joao Felix completed the scoring in the 69th minute.
The win keeps Diego Simeone's side five points clear of Barcelona, who have played a game more, and six ahead of Real Madrid, who face Real Sociedad on Monday.
After dropping five points across two league against Levante last week, Atletico went into Sunday's game Estadio de la Cerámica with Barça and Madrid breathing down their neck.
However, despite the threat posed by Unai Emery's Villarreal, the Rojiblanco managed to pick up a really important three points.
The first goal came against the run of play when Stefan Savic's far post header ended up being turned home by Pedraza.
At first, the goal appeared to be disallowed for offside, and then for a push by Savic, but VAR stepped in and the goal stood.
Atletico improved after the break but their second goal was again came on the break, Felix controlling and smashing home after a poor clearance from Villarreal.
The home side pushed to get back into it but their finishing was off and when they did hit the target, Jan Oblak was there.
The Atletico goalkeeper made a stunning late save from substitute Alex Baena's thumping volley just moments after the same player had hit the woodwork.
Next up for Atletico is the small matter of a Madrid derby against Real next weekend. Barca will watching.
|Villarreal:||Sergio Asenjo, Juan Foyth, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Alfonso Pedraza, Dani Parejo, Manu Trigueros, Etienne Capoue, Gerard Moreno, Moi Gomez and Samuel Chukwueze|
|Atletico Madrid:||Jan Oblak, Mario Hermoso, Stefan Savic, Felipe, Sime Vrsaljko, Thomas Lemar, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Saul Niguez, Angel Correa and Luis Suarez|
|Stadium:||Estadio de la Ceramica|
|Goals:||Alfonso Pedraza (0-1, min. 25) and Joao Felix (0-2, min. 69)|
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