Atletico Madrid 2 Granada 0: Mandzukic and Garcia on target for champions
Mario Mandzukic converted a first-half penalty and substitute Raul Garcia added a late second to earn Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win and inflict further misery on managerless Granada on Sunday.
This encounter at the Vicente Calderon saw La Liga's champions host the division's bottom club, who are without a permanent coach after the departure of Joaquin Caparros on Friday.
Interim replacement Joseba Aguado will have been encouraged by his team's display in the first half an hour as Granada, who are without a Liga win since September, made an assured start.
But their good work was undone 11 minutes before the break when Abdoul Sissoko fouled Diego Godin, and Mandzukic - who returned to the side after missing the midweek Copa del Rey triumph over Real Madrid due to illness - tucked away the spot-kick for his 16th goal of the season.
Mandzukic was replaced by Garcia six minutes from time, and Diego Simeone's change paid dividends four minutes later as the midfielder headed home Arda Turan's cross from the right to seal victory.
Defeat extended Granada's winless Liga run to 15 matches, while for Atletico victory was crucial after city rivals Real had beaten Getafe 3-0 earlier on Sunday.
Atletico sit four points behind Real, having played a game more, while Granada remain rooted to the foot of the table.
It was the visitors who had the first real sight of goal in the 11th minute, as Youssef El-Arabi headed Allan Nyom's cross wide of the target with Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya stranded.
And Moya had to be alert four minutes later to palm Piti's dangerous corner away from under his crossbar.
Granada continued to look the most likely to score, and Manuel Iturra called Moya into action for a second time with a curling effort from distance just before the half-hour.
Somewhat against the run of play, Atletico hit the front through Mandzukic's penalty in the 34th minute.
Sissoko was adjudged to have dragged down Godin as the defender attempted to get on the end of Fernando Torres' cross, and Mandzukic sent the resulting kick into the top right-hand corner.
Simeone introduced Antoine Griezmann in place of Torres in the second half, and the France international stung the palms of Granada keeper Oier in the 70th minute.
With Atletico going in search of a second to seal the game, Koke curled an effort narrowly over from the edge of the box five minutes later.
The home side did not have to wait long, however, as Garcia's header condemned Granada to a sixth consecutive defeat against Atletico.