Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez continued his deadly run of form by scoring twice but Celta Vigo debutant Facundo Ferreyra had the final say in a 2-2 draw which interrupted the Liga leaders’ eight-game winning streak.
Atletico dropped points for the first time since losing to Real Madrid on 12 December but now have 51 from 20 games and lead second-placed Barcelona and champions Real, who are third, by eight points with a match in hand on both teams.
Atletico were missing six players due to Covid-19, including record signing Joao Felix, and they fell behind in the 13th minute to a well worked goal from Celta when Santi Mina ghosted into the box unmarked to turn home a cross from Hugo Mallo.
Celta, who are without a league win in 2021, should have added to their lead but Suarez equalised for Atletico on the stroke of halftime, sliding in to meet a Marcos Llorente cross.
The Uruguayan scored a similar goal to put Atletico ahead in the 50th minute, this time connecting with a Renan Lodi ball to score his seventh goal in four league games.
The strike increased Suarez’s lead at the top of the Liga goalscoring charts with 16 goals, three ahead of former Barcelona team mate Lionel Messi in second.
Celta had faded in the second half after a strong display before the break but pulled level in the 89th through Argentine forward Ferreyra, who had only been on the pitch for 13 minutes after joining the club earlier this month as a free agent.
“We have to try and win home games like this but we were not comfortable at all in the first half,” said Atletico captain Koke.
“We’ve conceded a lot of goals in the last few games but we have a great squad, great players and we’re going to keep thinking about the next game and now we’re focusing on our next game with Granada.”
Celta goalscorer Mina said his side earned “a good point” but lamented not building on their excellent start.
“We have a bittersweet feeling because they equalised when we had total control of the game but we kept fighting and kept believing in ourselves,” he said.
Celta, who have drawn their last three games, are 10th on 26 points.