Super-subs Fernando Torres and Angel Correa struck to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win away to Eibar on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s side missed a handful of chances in the first half, with Jackson Martinez particularly wasteful, but Correa’s fine finish just a minute after coming on gave them the lead.
The home side battled for a way back into the match, but Torres, who was introduced at half-time, clipped a deft finish into the far corner following Correa’s pass to secure the victory and send Atletico to within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Luciano Vietto, starting in the three-pronged attack alongside Jackson and Antoine Griezmann, brought the first save out of Asier Riesgo with a low shot from distance.
Griezmann’s corner was headed towards the bottom corner of the net by Jose Maria Gimenez, but his effort was blocked and Eibar were able to clear, before Jackson’s placed effort from inside the box was well saved by Riesgo.
Eibar looked dangerous on the break and Saul Berjon tested Jan Oblak from one quick breakaway before Atletico spurned their first clear-cut chance of the half. Koke’s flighted ball was turned back across goal by Jackson, but Vietto failed to connect properly at the far post with the goal at his mercy and he managed only to ripple the side-netting.
Filipe Luis was bailed out by Gimenez’s headed clearance after he totally misjudged a long ball up to Keko, and Jackson was denied by a smart block from Ander Capa following Griezmann’s clever reverse pass.
The Colombian was inches away from connecting with the lively Griezmann’s fizzed cross and Vietto saw a header comfortably held as Atleti began to take control towards the end of the half.
Fernando Torres and Oliver Torres replaced Jackson and Vietto at the break, but it was Filipe Luis who came close to breaking the deadlock, Riesgo diving superbly to claw his deflected strike from distance behind for a corner.
Oblak was called into action to deny Berjon at the near post a few moments later and the stop proved pivotal as Atleti took the lead just past the hour mark.
Torres battled to win a hopeful ball over the top and he teed up Correa, who dummied superbly before firing past Riesgo from inside the area for his first goal for the club – and all just a minute after being brought on for Koke.
Oliver dragged a shot wide after some fine footwork as Atleti pushed for a second, but Oblak was called into action to deny Sergi Enrich following a long ball upfield.
Atleti doubled their advantage after 77 minutes. Correa turned provider with a clever throughball to Torres, who chipped it over the onrushing Riesgo and into the far corner.
Eibar pushed for a late foothold and Juanfran almost gifted it to them, heading past Oblak before scrambling to clear the ball off the goal-line, but Atletico held firm for three points.