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.
19 de febrero 2018
|He´s looking good – Zidane thrilled with Ronaldo|
|It needs to take 30 seconds – Matic wants quicker VAR|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|McIlroy sees progress despite failing to contend at Riviera|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|Mickelson ready for Masters after third straight top-six finish|
|Gattuso: My job is to be the players´ nightmare until season´s end|
|I wasn´t good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection|
|Dillon reigns supreme with overtime win at Daytona 500|
|Bubba Watson ends drought with third Genesis Open title|
|Brazilian derby between Vitoria and Bahia abandoned after red-card frenzy|
|Anderson ends barren spell with New York Open triumph|
|It was crazy, but I like that - Zidane revels in eight-goal Betis thriller|
18 de febrero 2018
|Asensio credits Zidane for Madrid´s thrilling Betis comeback|
|Zidane hopeful over Marcelo hamstring injury|
|Overton replaces injured Plunkett for Blacks Caps ODI series|
|Bonaventura claims Milan can catch Inter|
|Bravo for Claudio! Guardiola to pick keeper at Wembley|
|Mourinho hoping for reinforcements at Sevilla|
|´Quick-healer´ Groves hopeful over shoulder injury|
|Real Madrid become first side to score 6,000 goals in LaLiga|
|Real Betis 3 Real Madrid 5: Asensio at the double in LaLiga classic|
|AC Milan 1 Sampdoria 0: Bonaventura makes it 10 unbeaten for Rossoneri|
|Schurrle excited to finally link up with Reus and Gotze|
|Fit-again Hughes included in England squad|
|New number one Federer revels in ´unbelievable´ week|
|Real Madrid defender Marcelo suffers hamstring injury|
|Costa fumes referees ´want to give me a card´, but Simeone plays down penalty row|
|Thiem regains Argentina Open title|
|Stoger makes Dortmund history with Gladbach win|
|Championship Review: Leeds fight back for point, Norwich & Ipswich share derby spoils|
|Racing beat La Rochelle to go second, Castres edge out Bordeaux|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Burki unbeatable as Reus returns to haunt Foals|
|FA Cup ´magic´ no surprise to Pochettino after Rochdale thriller|
|Rochdale hero Davies: This is every kid´s dream|
|Atletico Madrid will not stop in pursuit of Barcelona, promises Gameiro|
|Banks boot pays dividends for Treviso|
|Lucky 13 and second successive title for Kvitova after Muguruza classic|
|´Wrong image´ to blame for VAR confusion in Manchester United´s FA Cup win|
|Rochdale 2 Tottenham 2: Davies denies Kane in FA Cup classic|
|Rieder stretchered off as Wasps extend Chiefs´ slump|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Gameiro and Costa settle cagey clash|
|NHL commissioner Bettman condemns ´reprehensible´ Smith-Pelly abuse|
|Visser, Scott and Nel among six recalled by Scotland|
|Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan inspire India´s Wanderers win|
|Napoli set club record with another Serie A win|
|Froome disappoints in time trial as Wellens wins Ruta del Sol|
|Napoli 1 SPAL 0: Allan sends hosts top of Serie A again|
|Federer makes short work of disappointing Dimitrov|
|Allegri allays Higuain injury fears|
|Blackhawks fans ejected after racist heckling of Capitals´ Smith-Pelly|
|Allegri convinced Juve can get past Spurs|
|Sri Lanka sweep series after dominating Bangladesh|
|Everton fear ´long-term´ injury for Mangala|
|If it isn´t Madrid, it´s Paris - Hazard tires of speculation|
|Luiten claims Oman Open title|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Champions win derby but lose Higuain|
|Neymar exit made Barcelona stronger - Ter Stegen|
|Remove T20 cricket from international schedule - Bayliss|
|Injured Higuain forced off against Torino|
|Jesus confident of returning strong after knee injury|
|DeGale launches Twitter attack on beaten Eubank Jr|
|We had to change hotels – Ovrebo recalls fury after 2009 Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final|
|Spalletti: Inter board will decide my future|
|Munro blitz helps Black Caps progress despite defeat|
|Fabregas still wary of timeless Iniesta|
|Liverpool´s 30-goal hero Salah: There´s more to come|
|Valverde: Coutinho dropped for the good of Barcelona|
|Garcia floors Rios for ninth-round TKO|
|Ronaldo better than Neymar? No says Xavi|