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.
The hosts began the match as desperate for points as their opponents and they created the first chances as a result.
Pedro Leon's corner was headed wide of the left post by Alexis after 19 minutes, and the pair combined again four minutes later with the latter again failing to direct his header on target.
Godin then showed his opponents how to find the net five minutes before the interval as Juanfran pumped in a cross from the left which was nodded in from a few yards out by the Uruguayan defender.
Getafe continued to tot up the missed opportunities in the second half, with Adrian Colunga's strike from inside the area landing in the arms of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Atletico continued to ride their luck and were aided after 64 minutes by the dismissal of Lafita, who earned a second yellow card and conceded a penalty with a poor challenge on Adrian.
Costa failed to make the most of the opening, with Jordi Codina diving to his right to keep out the spot-kick, but fortune continued to favour the league leaders with Alexis following Lafita down the tunnel just three minutes later for another rash tackle.
Still Atletico could not make their advantage count and they came close to conceding an equaliser seven minutes from time when Pedro Leon steered the ball just over the crossbar from six yards out.
However, a second goal finally arrived after 84 minutes through Costa, who raced on to a pass from Adrian to stab home left-footed at the far post.
His goal came at a price though, as the striker also collided heavily with the left post and underwent a spell of treatment on the pitch before being carried off clearly in some discomfort.