Atletico Madrid missed the opportunity to go to the top of La Liga after their four-match winning league run was ended by a goalless draw against Sevilla.
Diego Simeone’s men came closest to scoring when Antoine Griezmann headed against the post in a second half that also saw Vitolo sent off for the visitors after receiving a second yellow card.
But seventh-placed Sevilla held on to extend their good run of results to only one defeat in their last nine top-flight matches.
Atletico move level on points with leaders Barcelona, who have a game in hand, after a fifth consecutive clean sheet, but will rue their failure to find a second-half winner.
And Sunday’s home draw means there will be extra pressure on Atletico to get a result when they meet the league champions at the Camp Nou next Sunday.
Sevilla, meanwhile, stay seventh but move level on points with Eibar, who occupy the final Europa League spot.
Sevilla have beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid this season but lost to Atletico at the Sanchez Pizjuan, and Simeone had a splendid record against the Andalusians going into the game, winning six and drawing four.
Last season his side trampled all over Unai Emery’s men at the Calderon, winning 4-0, but Sevilla matched Atletico for the entirety of the first half and coped admirably after going down to 10 men.
Although the hosts had more attempts over the course of the game, they were limited to distance efforts such as a volley from Gabi which whistled wide of goal, and half-chances such as Saul Niguez’s attempt to beat Rico at his near post, instead hitting the side-netting.
Augusto Fernandez has failed to impress since signing from Celta Vigo at the start of the month and picked up a booking after just five minutes for a foul on Vitolo, and the Argentine was taken off at half-time by Simeone and replaced by Carrasco.
By the end of the five minutes of added time, Simeone’s side had managed 22 shots — five on target and two off the woodwork — but they had to settle for just one point. The goals not flowing at home is not an isolated occurrence, as their 10 home La Liga games so far this term have yielded just 12 goals. Usually Griezmann & Co. manage to find a way through, to do just enough to win, but not on Sunday.
Simeone’s changes don’t work out this time
With Fernando Torres watching from the stands, Atletico coach Diego Simeone sent on forwards Yannick Carrasco, Jackson Martinez and Angel Correa after Sevilla lost Vitolo, but the visitors withstood the onslaught.
“We created chances but they just wouldn’t go in,” said Atletico midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion, who repeated Simeone’s line that, despite winning the title in 2014, Atletico is not a contender to outlast the star-studded squads of Barcelona and Madrid.
“We have always said finishing third is our goal,” Koke said. “But we will give it our all next game at Barcelona.”
MAN OF THE MATCH – Adil Rami
Sevilla out-defended the best defence in Europe, and Adil Rami was the man marshalling the visiting backline to the Vicente Calderon. The centre-back was outstanding throughout, dealing with everything that Atletico Madrid threw at him. He was the organisational leader in defence, but also provided presence himself and kept tabs on Griezmann for the most part.
13’ GABI SCUFFS HIS SHOT WIDE OF THE TARGET! Griezmann chipped up a pass to the edge of the penalty area, but the midfielder’s shot on the full volley flashes wide of the goal.
33’ GRIEZMANN’S BEST CHANCE OF THE MATCH! Godin’s header to the back post from a set piece finds the Frenchman, but he can’t direct his acrobatic volleyed shot on the target.
36’ OFF THE TOP OF THE CROSSBAR! Escudero does really well to pick out the pass from the byline, but Baneg’s shot takes a deflection, spins up and bounces off the top of the crossbar.
50’ GRIEZMANN WANTS THE PENALTY KICK! The Frenchman gets to a loose ball in the ball and goes down under the challenge from Rami, but the referee decides that there was no contact.
53’ OFF THE POST! That’s the closest we have come to an opener. Gabi’s clipped pass into the box finds the run of Griezmann, but he can only head his effort off the woodwork. It bounces away.
76’ BIG CHANCE FOR SEVILLA! Banega’s pass finds Gameiro, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and Atletico Madrid somehow manage to kick it out of play to clear the danger.
Atletico Madrid – Oblak 5, Juanfran 6, Savic 6, Godin 7, Luis 5, Gabi 5, Augusto 5, Saul 5, Koke 6, Vietto 5, Griezmann 6. Subs – Jackson 5, Carrasco 6, Correa 6.
Sevilla – Rico 8, Coke 6, Carrico 6, Rami 8, Tremoulinas 6, Krychowiak 6, N’Zonzi 5, Vitolo 4, Banega 6, Escudero 5, Llorente 5. Subs – Cristoforo 5, Krohn-Dehli 6, Gameiro 5.