EletiofeBarcelona draw blank at Sevilla to keep title race...

Barcelona draw blank at Sevilla to keep title race wide open


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Sevilla v Barcelona

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi tries to escape the attentions of Sevilla’s Diego Carlos.
Photograph: Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Sevilla in an empty stadium on Friday as they dropped points for the first time since the season restarted.

The Catalan side are top of the standings on 65 points from 30 games but second-placed Real Madrid, with 62, can go above their rivals if they beat Real Sociedad away on Sunday due to their superior head-to-head record. Sevilla are third on 52.

Barca’s Lionel Messi went into the match on 699 career goals but failed to get his 700th for club and country, coming closest with a first-half free kick that was headed off the line.

Sergio Reguilón had a glorious chance to snatch a winner for the home side in added time when the ball ran into his path from close range but he hit it into the ground and the Barça keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a comfortable save.

Earlier on Friday the bottom club Leganés snatched a 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Real Mallorca thanks to a sensational late free-kick from Oscar Rodríguez as they earned their first point since league’s resumption. The veteran midfielder Salva Sevilla, 36, had put Mallorca in front after nine minutes with a free-kick that slid under the wall and flummoxed the goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar.

Elsewhere, Villarreal secured a third win in a row since the campaign in a 1-0 victory at Granada, continuing to stake their claim for a top-four finish. Gerard Moreno’s 11th minute goal proved decisive.

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