Barcelona missed the chance to move 15 points clear at the LaLiga summit after being held to a goalless draw at home to Girona on Monday.
Real Madrid fell to a 3-2 defeat at Villarreal on Saturday, but Xavi’s Blaugrana failed to fire two days later, leaving Barca 13 points adrift of second-placed Los Blancos.
A fine display from Paulo Gazzaniga kept the spirited hosts at bay, while Valentin Castellanos wasted the best chance of the game when he curled over in the second half at the Camp Nou.
The stalemate ended a four-game league winning run for Barca, but Xavi’s side remain unbeaten in LaLiga this season as the Blaugrana march towards the title.
Viktor Tsygankov carved out a decent chance on the volley as Girona got off to a positive start, although Barca should have twice broken the deadlock in the opening 10 minutes.
Robert Lewandowski curled wide after offloading Ansu Fati, while Gazzaniga’s desperate dive saved Santiago Bueno from an inexplicable own-goal pass.
Another smart stop from Gazzaniga denied Raphinha before the Girona goalkeeper – almost in his own net – somehow saved Ronald Araujo’s flick from the resulting corner.
Eric Garcia headed wide from close range just after the break, but Girona should have struck first shortly after.
Castellanos avoided Barca’s offside trap but placed wide, only for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat, leaving Girona to rue a missed chance that could have grabbed a memorable win against their Catalan rivals, who themselves squandered some promising chances late on.
Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Another clean sheet for Ter Stegen, who is looking good to claim his first ever Zamora Trophy.
RB: Jules Kounde – 6/10 – Did a bit of everything from right back but also gave the ball away cheaply throughout.
CB: Ronald Araujo – 7/10 – Denied a headed goal by a good Gazzaniga save.
CB: Eric Garcia – 7/10 – Came in with Barça struggling for options at centre back. Took a blow from Stuani to the face but was strong in the air and composed throughout.
LB: Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – Showed good drive and attacking intent to bomb up and down the left.
CM: Sergi Roberto – 4/10 – Offered little more than decent defensive cover in midfield. A bit of a waste of a midfield player for Barça.
CM: Sergio Busquets – 8/10 – Made sure some threatening Girona passes didn’t get through midfield.
CM: Gavi – 7/10 – Fired some dangerous crosses into Girona’s box and buzzed around frantically in defence.
RW: Raphinha – 6/10 – Turned sharply in wide areas and delivery from wide areas was good.
ST: Robert Lewandowski – 5/10 – A little on the periphery of proceedings. A few crosses just evaded his reach.
LW: Ansu Fati – 5/10 – Couple of shots but neither were on target.
Franck Kessie (46′ for Roberto) – 6/10
Ferran Torres (68′ for Fati) – 5/10
Jordi Alba (75′ for Raphinha) – 6/10
Xavi – 6/10 – Without a couple of his main ball-playing stars in midfield, but Barcelona still might have won on another day. Having points on the board also makes the draw more palletable.
Girona player ratings (4-1-4-1)
GK: Paulo Gazzaniga (7); RB: Arnau Martinez (7), CB: Santiago Bueno (7), CB: David Lopez (8), LB: Javier Hernandez (7); DM: Oriol Romeu (7); RM: Viktor Tsygankov (6), CM: Ivan Martin (7), CM: Borja Garcia (6), LM: Toni Villa (6); ST: Valentin Castellanos (6).
Substitutes: Aleix Garcia (6), Yan Couto (7), Cristhian Stuani (6), Rodrigo Riquelme (6), Valery Fernandez (6).