Barcelona failed to captailse on their rivals setbacks for the third week in a row but stayed top of La Liga standings after Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid canceled each other out in a pulsating draw played at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Real and Atletico derby spoils came three hours after Barca had scrambled to a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao, but it was the goalkeepers, who reigned supreme in the Spanish capital to ensure the grudge match finished goalless.
It means Real are second, level on points with Barcelona, while Atletico are just two behind in fourth. Sevilla are third. With this result, the 13-time European Champions have failed to beat their city rivals for the sixth time, with their last victory coming when Jose Mourinho was incharge back in 2012.
Gareth Bale had come the closest to scoring for the Los Blancos, but however, had to be substituted at half-time with what the club confirmed was a thigh strain and making him a doubt for the European champions away trip to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
Real Madrid are now joint-top leaders with Barcelona with 14 points with only goal difference separating the two sides. On the other hand, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverd was made to pay the price after deciding to rest Lionel Messi ahead of their Champions League clash with Tottenham at Wembley.
The Argentine's presence was severly missed after Oscar de Marcos gave Bilbao a well-deserved lead in the second-half. In order to save the embarrassment, Messi was brought on late in the second-half and his contribution proved vital after his deflected shot fell into the path of Munir El Haddadi, who prodded home to snatched Barca a point, with just six minutes left.
Barca might feel spared but Real and Atletico seemed satisfied at the final whistle. Atletico Madrid maintained their resurgence after a miserable start to the season while Real steadied the ship following their hammering at Sevilla on Wednesday.
(With AFP inputs)