Kevin Gameiro's first-half goal was enough as Atletico Madrid laboured to a 1-0 win over Eibar, whose seven-match unbeaten LaLiga run came to an end.
Diego Simeone made 10 changes from the 3-0 Copa del Rey defeat of Lleida on Tuesday, with Diego Costa among those left on the bench, and while Atletico hardly produced a memorable performance, Gameiro's well-crafted goal proved to be all they needed
Atletico looked capable of making light work of Eibar early on, playing some great football and creating decent chances for Angel Correa and Koke.
As such, it came as little surprise when the breakthrough did arrive, as Gameiro rounded off a fine break with his fourth league goal of the season.
But, thereafter Atletico offered very little from an attacking perspective, an aspect of their performance which stayed with them deep into the second half, with Eibar looking the more purposeful.
Eibar's need for an equaliser saw Atletico defend desperately towards the end and the hosts also had a penalty shout turned down, but Simeone's men held on to move them to within six points of pacesetters Barcelona, who head to Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Atletico looked unperturbed by Eibar's excellent recent run of form during the early exchanges, as they took charge and crafted a couple of excellent chances.
The first came about at the end of a well-worked passing move by the visitors, Correa sending a cross-cum-shot – with Gameiro almost getting to it – agonisingly wide of the bottom-left corner.
And a similar move in the 11th minute presented Koke with the chance to score, but the Spain international slammed into the side-netting following Sime Vrsaljko's cross.
There was to be no denying Atleti just before the half-hour mark, though.
5 - Antoine Griezmann has assisted with his first touch in opposite box - he is the player who has assited in most Kevin Gameiro's goals as Atletico players in La Liga. Partners pic.twitter.com/NzC0sxh8w4— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 13, 2018
Antoine Griezmann sprang the offside trap when chasing Saul's through pass and coolly squared to his compatriot Gameiro, who tucked past the helpless Marko Dmitrovic.
Eibar nearly responded with a quick equaliser, but Sergi Enrich headed Joan Jordan's right-wing cross just over.
The home side offered a lot more attacking intent after the break and enjoyed plenty of possession, with the half-time introduction of tricky Chile international Fabian Orellana making a significant difference.
Even with their improved performance, Eibar had to rely on a slice of luck for their first clear chance of the second half just after the hour mark, as Enrich's header took a huge deflection off Diego Godin and was crucially stopped on the line by a relieved Jan Oblak.
Eibar's pressing almost resulted in them getting punished on the break 16 minutes from the end, but Dmitrovic did well to block Griezmann's effort at the end of a swift counter.
Atletico somehow survived in stoppage time, as Kike Garcia sent a glancing header just past the left-hand post, before Augusto Fernandez got away with handling the ball in the area in the build-up to another brilliant chance which Enrich prodded wide from close range.
Key Opta stats:
- Atletico have won more games by a one-goal margin than any other side in LaLiga this season (8).
- Antoine Griezmann has provided five assists in LaLiga this season and he only needs three more to equal his best record in a whole season (eight in 2016-17).
- Griezmann made only two touches in the opposition half, in his assist to Gameiro and in Atletico's only shot on target in the second half.
- Eibar attempted more crosses against Atletico (37) than against any other team in LaLiga this season.
|Pieters edges into Abu Dhabi lead|
|Klopp doubts Alexis Sanchez tug-of-war decided by money|
|Conte admits Pedro dived|
|Valencia tie down Torres amid Real Madrid, Barcelona reports|
|Bangladesh claim record win over Sri Lanka|
|Congratulations! Guardiola offers well wishes to United-bound Sanchez|
|Pele pulls out of London event amid conflicting health reports|
|Conte would be ´happy´ for transfer help|
|Kontaveit dumps Ostapenko out, Wozniacki battles through|
|Sanchez to United not done at all, insists Mourinho|
|Rafa sails through, Kyrgios books Dimitrov showdown|
|Emery refuses to indulge Neymar-Cavani penalty debate|
|Wozniacki battles past stubborn Bertens|
|Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes|
|BBBofC ready to lift Fury suspension|
|I would reject such players – Heynckes slams ´selfish´ Aubameyang|
|Kyrgios proves cool credentials to Will Smith in Tsonga win|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Melbourne Victory 3: Barbarouses extends purple patch|
|Conte likes Dzeko but Chelsea have made no offer, says agent|
|Goretzka´s Bayern move good for Bundesliga, suggests Rummenigge|
|Root guides England home as Finch century proves in vain again|
|Walcott left Arsenal with his things in bin bags|
|Nadal breezes past Dzumhur in Melbourne|
|Schalke confirm Goretzka will join Bayern|
|Sergi Roberto renews Barca deal until 2022|
|Fernandinho seals extended Manchester City contract|
|Ceballos knee knock to be assessed after Real Madrid Copa win|
|O´Sullivan says snooker is ´weighted towards numpties´ as he repeats World Championship threat|
|Hamsik has no doubts over Napoli future|
|Corchia determined to repay Montella´s faith at Sevilla|
|Arsenal or Manchester United – who wins from the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal?|
|Black Caps survive Pakistan comeback to claim series sweep|
|Celtics lose without Irving as Cavaliers end skid|
|I can play against anyone, says 15-year-old Kostyuk|
|I would love to coach PSG – Mancini|
|Now an All-Star, Joel Embiid ´might have to pass´ on Rihanna|
|Merson: Mkhitaryan will be a sensation at Arsenal|
|Aussie debutant Carey replaces Paine for second ODI|
|Wins over substance for Varane and Real Madrid|
|Arsenal´s Giroud the answer for Chelsea, says Parlour|
|Rahm shoots 62 to lead CareerBuilder Challenge|
|Wenger: Sanchez exit won´t hurt like Van Persie|
|LeBron, Curry named captains for NBA All-Star game|
|Zidane hopes late Leganes win is turning point for Real Madrid|
|Magic´s Afflalo handed two-game ban for fighting|
|De Gea happy to delay Man Utd contract talks|
|Celtics guard Irving misses 76ers game with shoulder injury|
|LeBron James determined to work through ´very challenging´ Cavaliers season|
|Leganes 0 Real Madrid 1: Asensio´s late goal lifts pressure on Zidane in Copa quarter-final|
|Toulalan follows Gourvennec out of Bordeaux|
|Texans DE J.J. Watt showing positive signs with rehab|
|CC Sabathia likes the Yankees being a ´hated team´ again|
|UCI president wants Team Sky to suspend Froome|
|Dortmund´s Durm suffers torn ankle ligaments|
|Chelsea send Nathan to Belenenses on loan|
|Chelsea in talks over deal for Roma full-back Emerson|
|Gravel for breakfast but no worms on Dyche´s menu|
|Harden to return for the Rockets against the Timberwolves|
|Dybala is no Messi - Laudrup thinks comparisons are unfair|
|Jones insists weakened England can challenge for Six Nations hat-trick|
|McIlroy feeling ´a little different´ but happy with injury return|
|Dortmund leave Aubameyang out amid Arsenal links|
|Federer requested night match to avoid Melbourne scorcher|
|Koulibaly would stay at Napoli ´forever´|
|Mentor De Villiers hopes Proteas proteges ´remember that old guy´|
|Shenzhen to host WTA Finals|
|Neymar´s PSG contract has no release clause, lawyer claims|
|Robben relaxed over Bayern contract talks as other clubs circle|
|Henderson returns to Liverpool training|
|Football´s biggest release clauses - Pique joins Messi, Ronaldo and LaLiga´s big boys|