Atletico Madrid missed the opportunity to usurp third-placed Sevilla in La Liga as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Julen Lopetegui's side at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday (AEDT).
Diego Simeone's men were hoping for a positive result that would have taken themselves back into the top four ahead of their UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg with Liverpool, but Sevilla claimed a commendable draw as Atletico failed to capitalise on their chances after half-time.
Luuk de Jong put Sevilla in front, before an Alvaro Morata penalty and a deflected Joao Felix effort turned the tables, but the visitors did go in at the interval level thanks to Lucas Ocampos' spot-kick.
Atletico attacked with increased intensity in the second half and crafted some presentable chances, but Diego Costa and Yannick Carrasco were both unable to capitalise as Sevilla held on.
Sevilla began with the greater intent and deservedly went ahead 19 minutes in, Stefan Savic unable to cut out Joan Jordan's pass in from the right and de Jong finishing clinically after a fine first touch.
Atletico levelled from the spot through Morata – Diego Carlos penalised for an apparent handball following a lengthy VAR check.
Joao Felix then put the hosts in front in the 36th minute, his left-footed shot taking a massive deflection of Jules Kounde before looping over the helpless Tomas Vaclik.
However, Sevilla equalised just before the break.
Ocampos converted the game's second spot-kick after another protracted VAR review adjudged Kieran Trippier to have caught the Argentinian.
Valik produced a wonderful save to deny Carrasco just past the hour-mark, reacting to claw the ball away after it had taken a hefty deflection.
The Belgian forward went close again soon after, blasting over from the centre of the box with what proved to be Atletico's final clear-cut opportunity.
What does it mean? Atletico happy to avoid defeat
While a draw will frustrate Simeone, he is probably grateful to avoid defeat above all, as that could have been a major blow for their top-four chances and dented their confidence ahead of Thursday.
Nevertheless, Sevilla might feel irritated they did not do more to put Atleti under pressure in the first half when they were the better side.
Joao Felix provides a bit of spark
It has not been a great debut season at Atletico for Joao Felix, but he certainly showed flashes of his undoubted ability on Sunday. The Portugal star created three opportunities, second only to teammate Trippier, had three shots and got himself a goal – even if he needed help from Kounde to beat Vaclik.
Much of the creative burden should have been on Suso for Sevilla, but the January signing from Milan was very quiet as he failed to create a single chance.
Atletico turn their attention to the Champions League now, as they go to Anfield 1-0 up against title-holders Liverpool, followed by a trip to Athletic Bilbao. Sevilla host Roma in the Europa League on Friday, then welcome bitter rivals Real Betis to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan three days later.