Atletico wasted several chances to win by a greater margin, but the result was never in doubt against a rival who slip to seventh place in the league table out of the places which will automatically assure a place in Europe next season.
The win cements Atletico in third place in the league table four days ahead of their derby away to Real Madrid.
Villarreal moves back into fifth thanks to Adrian Lopez’s 47th-minute goal which gave them a 1-0 win away to struggling Betis, who rarely looked like getting anything from the game.
The day kicked off with Athletic Club Bilbao enjoying a comfortable 2-0 win at home to a decaffeinated Espanyol, which lifts them into the sixth position.
Although the match was billed as a clash between two candidates for Europe, Athletic dominated the entire 90 minutes, opening the scoring with an Aritz Aduriz penalty in the 16th minute and doubling their lead with Aduriz’s second of the night, eight minutes from halftime.
Wednesday sees league leaders Real Madrid travel to face Leganes, while Barcelona entertains Sevilla in the Camp Nou Stadium.
(With Inputs From Xinhua)