Atletico Madrid moved top of La Liga as Koke scored the only goal of the game in a narrow win against Malaga.
The Spain international midfielder, 21, struck midway through the second half, slotting home after Adrian's shot was saved.
Malaga had packed the defence with the aim of stifling Atletico and had few opportunities, with Eliseu's first-half effort easily saved.
Simeone's Atletico revolution
- Since Diego Simeone was named Atletico Madrid manager in 2011, they have won the Europa League, Uefa Super Cup and Copa del Rey
- Under Simeone, Atletico have won 16 of their 18 La Liga games this season
- They also qualified for the Champions League knockout stage with five wins and one draw
Atletico are three points clear of Barcelona, who play Elche on Sunday.
However, Barca can return to the top of the table with a win.
"It was a victory earned by the group because it was a very difficult game," sad Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
"Malaga tried to give us the ball, take advantage of the counter-attack and they defended well.
"We weren't creating a lot of chances, but in the end the team managed to win the game."
Chances were few throughout as Atletico struggled to break down Malaga's five-man defence.
Juanfran saw his low drive parried by Malaga keeper Willy Caballero in the first half, before Eliseu's shot was held by Thibaut Courtois.
Simeone brought on Adrian for the second half, with Oliver Torres making way, and the Spain international soon caused Malaga problems.
He played an important role in Atletico's winner, as his shot was blocked by the legs of Caballero but the rebound fell kindly for Koke to finish with ease.
- 13 Caballero
- 02 Gámez
- 05 Antunes Booked
- 03 Pena de Oliveira
- 15 Angeleri Booked (Morales - 77' )
- 21 Sánchez
- 18 Pereira Dos Santos (Barbosa Valente - 66' )
- 06 Camacho
- 26 Jiménez López (Santa Cruz - 66' )
- 30 Darder Booked
- 24 García Sánchez Booked
- 01 Kameni
- 04 Ferreira
- 08 Portillo
- 09 Santa Cruz
- 10 Anderson
- 14 Morales
- 17 Barbosa Valente
- 13 Courtois Booked
- 20 Juanfran Booked
- 03 Filipe Luis
- 05 Tiago Booked
- 23 Miranda Booked
- 02 Godín
- 10 Turan (Rodríguez - 62' Booked )
- 06 Koke
- 19 Diego Costa Booked
- 09 Villa (Alderweireld - 85' )
- 16 Óliver (Adrián - 45' )
- 01 Aranzubia
- 07 Adrián
- 11 Rodríguez
- 12 Alderweireld
- 15 Guilavogui
- 22 Insúa
- 24 Sosa
Ref: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes