Sevilla continued their good form as the La Liga resumed on Saturday, while Antoine Griezmann starred for Atletico Madrid.
Nicolas Pareja's first-half free-kick saw Sevilla edge Celta de Vigo 1-0, extending their unbeaten league run to four matches.
Unai Emery's side are into fourth – five points behind Barcelona and Atletico.
Carles Planas was sent off in the 21st minute for Celta, who were punished just after the half-hour mark.
Pareja curled a 25-yard free-kick past Sergio Alvarez but the goalkeeper should have done better after being beaten on the side his wall was not protecting.
Griezmann continued where he left off before the mid-season break by scoring twice in Atletico's 3-1 win over Levante.
The France international helped the champions sign off 2014 with a hat-trick in a 4-1 rout of Athletic Bilbao on December 21.
And the forward was once again instrumental on Saturday against Lucas Alcaraz's side in La Liga's opening match of the year at the Vicente Calderon.
Griezmann broke the deadlock in the 18th minute with a towering header from Guilherme Siqueira's cross and doubled the tally shortly after the restart by just nodding over the line after Diego Marino kept out Mario Mandzukic's initial effort.
Substitute Nabil El Zhar's first league goal of the season just after the hour handed Levante a lifeline but Diego Godin's header eight minutes from time ended hopes of an unlikely comeback.
Atleti's victory adds to the feel-good factor at the Calderon following the announcement earlier this week that Fernando Torres, who took a watching brief from the stands, is to re-join the club.
Diego Simeone's side move level on points with second-placed Barcelona and are now just one point adrift of leaders and city rivals Real Madrid, although Carlo Ancelotti's side have two games in hand.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna climbed three points clear of the relegation zone – beating Athletic Bilbao 1-0 thanks to Ivan Cavaleiro's first-half goal.
Struggling Elche came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Villarreal and Almeria upset Malaga 2-1.