The Valencia-based club, this season's surprise package despite a meagre budget and ageing squad, have 48 points from 31 matches, level with their more glamourous city rivals Valencia, who play at leaders Real Madrid in the late kick-off.
Malaga have 47 ahead of their match at home to relegation-threatened Racing Santander on Monday.
Atletico have enjoyed a revival since coach Diego Simeone took over at the turn of the year and are through to the semi-finals of the Europa League.
However, their domestic form has been erratic and they are six points behind Levante in seventh and in danger of missing their goal of a lucrative Champions League spot next season.
They had defender Miranda sent off late on when he earned a second yellow card and the Brazilian will be suspended for Atletico's match at home to cross-town rivals Real on Wednesday.