Atletico Madrid’s La Liga dip continued on Saturday as they went down 2-0 at home to Levante.
Real Madrid took full advantage in the later game beating Valladolid 1-0 to go three points behind Diego Simeone’s side.
It was Atletico’s first home defeat since December 2019 and means they now have just five points from their last four games.
Jose Luis Morales scored the opener for Levante on the half hour after Geoffrey Kondogbia had failed to clear.
The second came in injury time after Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak went forward for the last corner and Jorge de Frutos broke to score from distance into an empty net.
Between the two strikes Atletico had more than enough chances to win the game. Luis Suarez rattled the crossbar with a free-kick.
And Levante keeper Daniel Cardenas saved three times from Joao Felix. Cardenas also saved spectacularly from a late volley from Thomas Lemar.
Angel Correa even had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for a push on Rober Pier by Suarez.
Simeone will be satisfied his team are still creating so many chances but this was the seventh straight match that Atletico had conceded and that is a new record since Simeone took over nine years ago.
The Atletico coach went all out for victory with 15 minutes left as on loan Lyon striker Moussa Dembele came on for his debut but there was to be no comeback.
Defender Mario Hermoso said: “We are not happy with the result. But we have been able to get to the top so we are confident we can stay there.
“We had enough chances to win the game but we couldn’t take them and we have let in goals that before we were not conceding.
“There are always periods of the season that are not as good but you just hope they do not last too long.”
Real Madrid earned their win away at Valladolid thanks to a fine string of saves from keeper Thibaut Courtois and a 65th minute header from Casemiro.
Toni Kroos gave Casemiro the assist and the German midfielder was outstanding once more in the heart of Real Madrid’s midfield.
“It was important to win but not just because Atletico slipped up,” said the goalscorer. “We have always believed the league was posible.”
Real Madrid have played a game more but have closed the gap on the leaders and with Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal all unavailable.
In other games on Saturday. Elche beat Eibar 1-0 and Valencia earned a 2-0 victory at home to Celta Vigo.