Atletico Madrid regained their three-point lead at the top of the Primera Division table on Sunday, although their 2-0 derby win over nine-man Getafe was not a performance to savour.
Diego Simeone's men struggled to break down their Madrid rivals, who are battling for survival, with Diego Godin's goal the only highlight of a poor first half.
Not even the dismissals of Angel Lafita and Alexis could inspire the leaders, who saw Diego Costa miss a penalty before making amends with a goal late on, although the Brazil-born striker suffered a worrying-looking injury for his efforts and left the field on a stretcher.
Despite the scrappy performance, the win has handed Atletico the advantage once more in the race to win the title, while Getafe remain one point shy of safety.
At the other end of the table, Real Betis sunk deeper into the relegation mire with a cruel 2-0 defeat against fierce rivals Sevilla, the hosts unable to recover after Juan Carlos' harsh first-half red card.
Juan Carlos was sent off after 28 minutes after being adjudged to have fouled Carlos Bacca in an incident which led to Kevin Gameiro opening the scoring from the penalty spot.
Gameiro killed the game off eight minutes from time with a close-range finish, leaving Betis 10 points from safety with just five games of the season remaining.
Valencia extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-1 victory over Elche at Mestalla.
Goals from Pablo Piatti and Dani Parejo won the game for the home side either side of Ferran Corominas' equaliser, while Damian Suarez missed a penalty deep into the second half for the visitors.
In the day's other game, Diego Colotto grabbed a late equaliser for Espanyol as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Rayo Vallecano.
Christian Stuani handed the home side an early lead but goals from Iago Falque and Joaquin Larrivey either side of half-time turned the game on its head before Colotto struck with two minutes to play.
The result moves Rayo a step closer to safety as they now sit six points clear of the drop zone while Espanyol are safely in mid-table.