Fernando Torres' first goal in La Liga this season gave Atletico Madrid a hard-fought 1-0 win over Alaves on Saturday and lifted the club into second place behind Barcelona.
Torres broke the deadlock five minutes after coming on in the 69th minute with Atletico's attack stifled by Alaves' well-positioned defense.
Torres made his run forward in sync with Sime Vrsaljko's cross from the right flank before sliding to redirect the ball home with his left foot.
At 33 years old, Torres has had to settle for a role as a reserve player behind regular starters Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro. His goal was his first in any competition this campaign other than the brace he scored against Elche in the Copa del Rey.
Torres' goal comes just before the arrival of even more competition in Atletico's attack. Diego Costa and Vitolo will join the club in January when their transfer ban expires.
Diego Simeone's team took advantage of Valencia's 2-1 loss at Eibar as Atletico moved two points ahead of their title rivals. Barcelona iare s three points ahead of Atletico before hosting Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Despite their failure to reach the knockout rounds of the Champions League, Atletico are as sound as ever in the domestic competition, where they are unbeaten through 16 rounds and have won four in a row.
Atletico's unbeaten streak in La Liga stretches back 20 matches to last season since their loss at Villarreal on April 25.