Atletico Madrid draw with Sevilla sees Barcelona stay top of La Liga
Atletico Madrid were unable to reclaim top spot in the Primera Division back off Barcelona after being held to a goalless draw by 10-man Sevilla at the Viente Calderon.
Diego Simeone's side failed to take advantage of Vitolo's red card after 61 minutes as they were denied by a couple of excellent saves by Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who kept out efforts from Yannick Carrasco and Gabi.
Their run of four straight wins in the league comes to an end and they are now level on points with leaders Barca, who enjoy a superior head-to-head record and goal difference, as well as having a game in hand.
And Sunday's home draw means there will be extra pressure on Atletico to get a result when they meet the league champions at the Camp Nou next Sunday.
Sevilla, meanwhile, stay seventh but move level on points with Eibar, who occupy the final Europa League spot.
Sevilla have beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid this season but lost to Atletico at the Sanchez Pizjuan, and Simeone had a splendid record against the Andalusians going into the game, winning six and drawing four.
Last season his side trampled all over Unai Emery's men at the Calderon, winning 4-0, but Sevilla matched Atletico for the entirety of the first half and coped admirably after going down to 10 men.
Although the hosts had more attempts over the course of the game, they were limited to distance efforts such as a volley from Gabi which whistled wide of goal, and half-chances such as Saul Niguez's attempt to beat Rico at his near post, instead hitting the side-netting.
Atletico's star forward Antoine Griezmann had two clear chances before the break but failed to hit the target with either.
Augusto Fernandez has failed to impress since signing from Celta Vigo at the start of the month and picked up a booking after just five minutes for a foul on Vitolo, and the Argentine was taken off at half-time by Simeone and replaced by Carrasco.
The Belguim international was the liveliest of Atletico's substitutions, with Angel Correa and Jackson Martinez failing to offer much after coming on later in the second half.
Griezmann came closest to breaking the deadlock early in the second period, meeting a Koke cross and heading onto the bar.
Then Vitolo saw red for a late challenge on Luciano Vietto just by the area, earning his second yellow. And on his way off the pitch his coach Emery talked himself into an expulsion for raging at the referee, trotting down the tunnel ahead of the forward.
The sending off gave Atletico a golden opportunity to go on and win the game, but they passed it up.
Atletico failed to make anything from the free kick and Sevilla broke quickly, and it required a sacrificial foul from Carrasco on Grzegorz Krychowiak to bring the attack to an end.
Sevilla had another attack later on as they found a gap in the Atletico midfield, but, outnumbered three to one, Kevin Gameiro was crowded out before he could find space to shoot.
Carrasco had one of Atletico's best chances to win the game, receiving the ball as Gabi played a quick free-kick, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Rico.
The goalkeeper also pushed over a stinging drive from Gabi with nine minutes left, producing another vital save and earning his side a point, as well as denting Atletico's title ambitions.