Atletico Madrid warmed up for Wednesday's Champions League match at home to Astana with a convincing 2-0 La Liga success at Real Sociedad and coach Diego Simeone was especially relieved to have Koke back in the side.
The influential Spain midfielder had not played since damaging a hamstring against Eibar last month and Atletico suffered without him, losing to Villarreal in La Liga and Benfica in Europe's elite club competition.
The 23-year-old has been a key part of Atletico's success in recent seasons and Simeone especially values him for the way he can turn a game with a moment of inspiration.
After he almost scored himself with a header, Koke sent a first-time pass into the path of Antoine Griezmann in the ninth minute at Sociedad's Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian.
The France forward did the rest, surging between the centre backs and scoring past home goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli with a delightful chip.
Midfielder Yannick Carrasco scored in added time to make it 2-0 and Atletico stayed in touch with joint leaders Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and champions Barcelona on 16 points from eight matches, two behind the top three.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna staged a late comeback to rescue a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao and maintain their promising start to the season as they reached the top six.
A first-half goal from Inaki Williams had given visitors Bilbao a half-time lead, and, when Aritz Aduriz added a second goal shortly after the hour mark, victory had looked likely.
Lucas Perez responded for Deportivo in the 80th minute, however, and as their urgency increased as stoppage time neared, Bilbao's Oscar de Marcos sent the equalising goal into his own net that secured a point for the hosts.
The result means Bilbao remain 14th, and leaves them only two points clear of the bottom three.
Reading Mikel Balenziaga's classy left-wing cross, Williams from inside the area shot into the ground and beyond goalkeeper German Lux after 30 minutes.
Eighteen minutes into the second half, Aduriz controlled Raul Garcia's through-ball, drew Lux and produced a masterful, close-range chip over the onrushing goalkeeper.
Perez's goal was similarly impressive. His touch from Juanfran's pass took the ball away from goal and high into the air but, from the edge of the six-yard box, he produced an acrobatic left-footed volley over his own shoulder and beyond Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.
Then, in the 89th minute, with the home side's providing greater pressure, Alejandro Arribas headed against De Marcos, who heavily deflected the ball beyond Iraizoz, and into the back of the net.
Celta Vigo joined Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona on 18 points at the top of the standings after claiming a dramatic 2-1 win at previous leaders Villarreal.
Celta, who along with Real are the only two sides still boasting an unbeaten record in La Liga, took the lead against the run of play at El Madrigal through Fabian Orellana's 41st-minute strike - their first shot of the game.
Villarreal, despite having centre-back Eric Bailly sent off just after the restart, drew level through Denis Suarez in the 67th minute but it was Celta who took the spoils thanks to Nolito's last-gasp winner.
Next up for the Galician outfit is a home match against Real Madrid - the last club to beat Celta in a competitive fixture with April's 4-2 victory at Balaidos.