Atletico Madrid capitalised on Barcelona dropping points as they beat Levante 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon to go top of La Liga on Saturday.
Earlier, Barcelona were held to a goalless draw in the Catalan derby with Espanyol.
In the late kick-off, Malaga beat Celta Vigo 2-0.
Here are all the results from Week 18 in Spain's top flight, complete with a the updated standings and a full roundup of the action:
|Saturday, Jan. 2||Espanyol||0-0||Barcelona|
|Saturday, Jan. 2||Atletico Madrid||1-0||Levante|
|Saturday, Jan. 2||Malaga||2-0||Celta Vigo|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Rayo Vallecano||TBD||Real Sociedad|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Real Betis||TBD||Eibar|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Granada||TBD||Sevilla|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Deportivo La Coruna||TBD||Villarreal|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Athletic Bilbao||TBD||Las Palmas|
|Sunday, Jan. 3||Valencia||TBD||Real Madrid|
|Monday, Jan. 4||Sporting Gijon||TBD||Getafe|
|7||Deportivo La Coruna||17||6||9||2||25||16||+9||27|
Goals have been hard to come by for Atletico in recent weeks, and Saturday was no exception.
The visitors had two promising chances early on, but Saul saw his header hit the side netting while Diego Marino proved equal to Jackson Martinez's low strike with a strong save.
Los Rojiblancos continued to press but could not find a way through, per football journalist Kieran Canning:
Still no goals after 135 mins of La Liga action today. Atletico better than in recent weeks, but still struggling for goals— Kieran Canning (@KieranCanning) January 2, 2016
As fellow journalist Dermot Corrigan noted, it wasn't for a lack of trying on Atletico's part:
Koke now hammers 20 yard shot off bar at Calderon. Savic hit woodwork earlier. Still Atletico 0-0 Levante 10 mins into second half.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 2, 2016
Juanfran cross comes back off the bar now... that's five times ball has hit woodwork today, but still no La Liga goals in 2016...— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 2, 2016
AS were more succinct in their assessment:
Why are you not in the back of the Levante net? pic.twitter.com/MSEssYH20d— AS English (@English_AS) January 2, 2016
Atleti pushed hard for a winner and were rewarded in the 81st minute when substitute Thomas dribbled past two players before squirming a shot through Marino's arms.
As Corrigan noted, though Atleti are still yet to convince, they are firmly in the hunt for the title:
Atletico 2015/16 dont look at all like a La Liga winning team, but super tight defence and knack of scoring useful late goals...— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 2, 2016
Charles opened the scoring for Malaga with a powerful header after just eight minutes and Raul Albentosa doubled the lead midway through the first half with a header of his own.
Things went from bad to worse for Celta when goalkeeper Ruben Castro earned a straight red card, though Nordin Amrabat was unable to convert the resulting penalty.
Earlier, Barcelona were left frustrated by their rivals at the Cornella.
As expected in a derby game, Espanyol played in an extremely intense and physical manner, preventing the Blaugrana from playing their natural game.
Luis Enrique's side were also unusually profligate—perhaps as a result of Espanyol's aggression—and hit the target with just two attempts, though Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both rattled the woodwork.
Referee Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez notably had a poor performance, per football journalist Rik Sharma:
Referee Gonzalez Gonzalez is so easily swayed by fans and players shouting at him— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) January 2, 2016
Barca still have a game in hand over Atletico, but having drawn three of their last four La Liga matches, they've missed a golden opportunity to build up a lead at the head of the table.
Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan are finally able to be registered, though, and the pair will no doubt provide an excellent boost to the team. With six more fixtures to come in January for the Catalan giants—including twice more against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey—their fresh legs will prove equally useful.