The only goal in old San Mames — which is due to be demolished in June — was scored by Athletic Bilbao’s veteran striker Aritz Aduriz in the 68th minute against Granada, when he headed in a corner from Ibai Gomez in the Spanish League on Monday.
The host had Spain midfielder Markel Susaeta sent off 10 minutes from time for a second yellow card offence, but managed to play out time without too many problems.
The win left Bilbao in 14th place and practically safe from relegation, though Aduriz afterwards insisted that “we cannot relax, we still have a lot of hard work to do.”
In contrast, Granada — which has picked up just two points from its last six games — is fifth from bottom. It is one point above Zaragoza, four above Celta Vigo and Mallorca and five above bottom team Deportivo Coruna.
Last season, Granada escaped relegation due to other results going its way on the last day.
It is now facing another grim struggle for survival.
Its principal problem is not in defence — it has only conceded seven goals more than runaway leader Barcelona — but in attack.
It has scored only 25 goals in 28 games, the poorest ratio in La Liga.
Later on Monday, seventh-placed Betis was held 0-0 by solid Getafe, which is eighth. The draw damaged the faint hopes of both teams of playing in Europe next season.
Betis dominated possession but looked weary and stale in attack, without the necessary craft and penetration to break down the well-drilled Getafe defence.
The results: Athletic Bilbao 1 (Aduriz 67) bt Granada 0; Real Betis 0 drew with Getafe 0.