Atletico Madrid’s three-game winning streak in La Liga was halted by a goalless draw at Leganes on Saturday which dropped them to third in the standings.
That result allowed Sevilla to leapfrog Atletico into second after they beat luckless Malaga 2-0.
Diego Simeone’s side, who were beaten 2-1 at home by Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday, played with an unorthodox three-man defence and struggled to break down their in-form neighbours.
They could even have lost the game and needed three impressive saves from Jan Oblak to prevent substitute Nabil El Zhar from scoring in the second half, while Claudio Beauvue missed the target from a good position in the first.
Atletico only had one effort of note in either half - a low shot from Saul Niguez which was comfortably parried by the home side’s goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar, who after the break turned Diego Godin’s flicked header behind the post.
Sevilla are second on 16 points, one point ahead of Atletico.
Leaders Barcelona host Las Palmas on Sunday, while champions Real Madrid, who are sixth and seven points behind their arch rivals, play at home to Espanyol.
Sevilla, who were beaten 2-0 at Atletico in their previous outing, saw off struggling Malaga with two goals in the space of two minutes in the second half.
Ever Banega converted a penalty to break the deadlock in the 68th minute, and Luis Muriel struck his first goal at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium moments later, winning the ball high in the Malaga half and bursting into the box past the shell-shocked visiting defenders to slip the ball under goalkeeper Roberto.
Pressure is mounting on Malaga boss Michel after his side sank to bottom with one point from seven games after Alaves snapped a six-game losing streak by winning 2-0 at Levante.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna earned a second win in three games by beating Getafe 2-1 and moving up to 15th.
Atletico drop to third after frustrating draw at Leganes