Atletico Madrid finally lost their unbeaten league record on Friday night thanks to a late strike by Espanyol's Sergio Garcia which has given Barcelona a boost in the title race as they head in to their Clasico battle on Saturday at the Bernabeu.
The well-taken strike was one of the few moments of quality in a match that looked destined for a goalless draw, and Los Indios' lacklustre display would have been a concern for Diego Simeone.
Going into the encounter Atletico had won their last four consecutive La Liga games, but throughout the contest they looked devoid of attacking intent and registered their only shot on target in the 77th minute.
Speaking to the club's official website after the game, Simeone admitted: "You could tell that a mistake would decide the match,
"It was a cagey and difficult match. We played with lots of intensity, committed an error and lost the match. Espanyol played very well and worked hard to do what they had to, we had our chances, but so did Espanyol and they ended up converting their opportunity."
This loss put an end to a streak of 20 matches without a defeat in La Liga, but Simeone insisted that he remained proud of the record. "Hopefully our next loss is 20 matches away," he continued. "After going 20 matches without losing, you learn from it [this loss]."
All those connected with Los Indios will be hoping that their city rivals Real defeat Barcelona on Saturday so Barca's lead is held at six points as they head in to the winter break. Simeone will be desperate for his side to get back to winning ways on their league return against Getafe in the new year, in a game which will see Diego Costa available for selection for the first time this