Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Valencia into second in La Liga thanks to Fernando Torres’s first goal at the Wanda Metropolitano to edge out Alaves 1-0 on Saturday.
Valencia remain five points off leaders Barcelona in third after falling to a second defeat in three matches 2-1 at Eibar.
Barca can regain their six-point lead over Atletico and open up an 11-point gap over Real Madrid ahead of next weekend’s El Clasico between the two with victory over Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.
Atletico remain unbeaten in La Liga this season, but had to wait until 16 minutes from time to breakdown a dogged Alaves, who had won their first two matches since Abelardo Fernandez was named the club’s third coach of the season earlier this month.
Torres had only been on the pitch six minutes when he stretched to fire home Sime Vrsaljko’s cross for his first league goal of the season.
“I’m very happy to get the goal. When you score you always have the feeling that you have done a good job,” Torres told BeIN Sports Spain.
Torres has started just one league game this season and is hoping his winner might encourage Diego Simeone to give him more opportunities.
“I just have to keep fighting for more minutes and score decisive goals,” he added.