Antoine Griezmann was the star of the show as he led Atletico Madrid to a comfortable 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Sunday, scoring and setting up Vitolo as Diego Simeone's men bounced back from defeat to Barcelona.
The 1-0 loss at Camp Nou last weekend effectively ended their LaLiga title hopes, but they never looked like dropping further points to encourage third-placed Real Madrid, as Griezmann led from the front with a fine display.
Although their Europa League exertions in Thursday's 3-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow may have contributed to Atletico's initial struggles to find the perfect final pass, they generally looked in control.
And Griezmann, who was presented with LaLiga's Player of the Month Award pre-match, made the most of their control just before the break with a well-taken goal.
The France attacker was then instrumental in Atletico's second in the 56th minute, setting up Vitolo's first league goal for the club just a few moments after Nemanja Radoja had hit the post for Celta.
Angel Correa, brought on for Vitolo, then rounded things off soon after, as Atletico reopened a seven-point gap ahead of Zinedine Zidane's side following their 2-1 win over Eibar on Saturday.
Atletico had little difficulty exerting control over Celta, quickly becoming the dominant force and putting the visitors' backline under pressure.
Simeone's men looked particularly threatening on the right flank, with Sime Vrsaljko getting forward to good effect from his full-back position, but his low cross in the third minute just evaded Griezmann.
Koke followed the Croatian's example in the 21st minute, clipping the ball into the box from the right wing and nearly picking out Diego Godin.
Atletico eventually found their range with the final pass just before the half-hour mark, but Godin headed Koke's corner agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
There was no such sloppiness from Griezmann just before the break, however.
Jose Maria Gimenez headed a corner down to the Frenchman and, after cleverly dragging the ball back to evade Jonny Castro's desperate lunge, Griezmann coolly placed an effort into the top-right corner with his right foot.
Celta started the second half promisingly and nearly levelled in the 55th minute – Radoja hitting the upright from close range after an excellent Emre Mor cross.
But they were punished by Atletico's next attack, as Griezmann produced a defence-splitting pass to release Vitolo in the area and he delicately chipped over the approaching Ruben Blanco.
Vitolo was withdrawn soon after for Correa, who quickly made an impact, putting Atletico 3-0 up just past the hour mark as he made the most of a ricochet on the edge of the box and found the bottom-left corner.
Maxi Gomez threatened to pull one back eight minutes from time with a low 25-yard drive, but Jan Oblak got down to his right to make the save and preserve his clean sheet.
Key Opta stats:
- Only Cristiano Ronaldo (14) has scored more goals than Antoine Griezmann (11) in the second half of LaLiga this season.
- No team has kept more clean sheets than Atletico in the top five European leagues this season (18, level with Juventus).
- Griezmann has scored seven goals for Atletico against Celta in all competitions, more than against any other side.
- The Frenchman has been directly involved in 10 of Atletico’s last 11 goals in LaLiga (eight goals and two assists).
- Angel Correa has scored 10 goals as a substitute in LaLiga, more than any other player since his Atletico debut in the competition.
- Vitolo has scored two goals in LaLiga this season, both against Celta (one for Las Palmas and today).
- Koke made seven tackles against Celta, more than any other player in this game and more than in any other game for Atletico this season (all competitions).