Angel Correa and Felipe got the goals as Atletico Madrid battled past Levante to start 2020 with a hard-fought home victory.
Felipe's first LaLiga goal helped in-form Atletico Madrid to a 2-1 home win over Levante.
Three goals during a manic five-minute spell in the first half settled the match but did not typify an otherwise tepid encounter at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Angel Correa scored for the second straight game and while Roger Marti's ninth league goal of the season pulled Levante level, Felipe settled it with a powerful header.
Atletico now have four consecutive victories across all competitions and moved back to within five points of city rivals Real Madrid, while the result ended a three-match winning streak for Levante.
The hosts almost scored in the first minute on Saturday when Correa's shot was saved, Joao Felix and Saul Niguez then unable to convert follow-up attempts.
But Atletico opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Thomas Partey found Kieran Trippier on the right and the defender's volleyed cross was converted by Correa's superb first-time finish.
Roger replied three minutes later when his volley deflected in off the arm of Alvaro Morata after he had latched on to Jose Campana's free-kick.
Atletico swiftly got back in front, though, Renan Lodi whipping in a left-wing delivery that Felipe impressively headed in from 12 yards out, his effort coming just 109 seconds after Roger's strike.
Correa's shot forced a good one-handed saved from Aitor Fernandez shortly before the break and the Levante goalkeeper also kept out an effort from Joao Felix just before the hour mark.
Joao Felix also fired wide from the edge of the area late on but Atletico were still able to hold on for victory in relative comfort, albeit Jan Oblak had to make two late saves to deny Enis Bardhi.
What does it mean? Atletico's poor run behind them
Atletico have won four straight games for the first time this season and have clearly overcome their dreadful run that saw them taste victory in just one of the previous eight.
Four straight wins and eight goals have Diego Simeone's men in better shape, but there remains plenty of work to do before the Madrid derby on February 1.
Felipe fabulous for Atletico
As well as scoring his first LaLiga goal, Felipe tested goalkeeper Fernandez with another aerial effort and recorded game-high totals for interceptions (4) and clearances (8).
Joao Felix frustrated once again
The Portuguese forward came into the match having played 572 minutes in LaLiga without scoring or providing an assist. Despite Simeone giving him 87 minutes, that dreadful run continued as he mustered only one shot on target and did not create a single opportunity for his team-mates.
Key Opta facts
- No other Atletico Madrid player has been involved in more LaLiga goals than Angel Correa this season (three goals and five assists, level with Alvaro Morata - seven goals and one assist).- Only Getafe (10) have scored more goals from crosses than Atleti in LaLiga this season (six, level with Granada and Valencia).- Jan Oblak has saved 14 of the last 17 shots on target he has faced for Atletico in LaLiga (three goals conceded), including the last two against Levante. - Roger Marti has scored six of Levante's last 10 goals in LaLiga; he is the Spanish top-scorer in this league campaign (nine goals).- Atletico are unbeaten in their 14 home LaLiga games against Levante (W13 D1). Only against Elche (21) and Real Murcia (19) have they played more home games without a defeat.
Atletico will take momentum into their meeting with Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, while Levante do not play until a Copa del Rey tie with Real Jaen on January 12.
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