FC Barcelona 0-0 Atletico Madrid
FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid played out a tense goalless draw at the Camp Nou that suits neither side, handing the advantage to Real Madrid in an engrossing La Liga title race.
With very little to separate the two sides, Atletico came closest to finding the net during the opening period as Luis Suarez – on his return to his former club – was denied from close range.
Ousmane Dembele missed a glorious chance when he headed wide at the far post as Barcelona took control of the second period before Lionel Messi’s free-kick veered inches wide.
The result means Atletico remain in top spot on 77 points, with Barcelona leapfrogging Real Madrid into second place on 75 points. Real – on 74 points – can move top if they beat Sevilla on Sunday by virtue of their superior head-to-head record with Atletico.
Atletico went into the game two points clear of Barcelona at the summit, with Real Madrid separating the two sides in second place ahead of their game with Sevilla on Sunday.
Preparations for the hosts were dealt a blow in midweek when it was confirmed head coach Ronald Koeman would be absent from the touchline after the Spanish football federation rejected the club’s appeal against a touchline ban. Koeman was sent off in his side’s 2-1 home defeat by Granada on April 29 for saying “what a character” to the fourth official after being warned about his conduct.
In his absence, assistant manager Alfred Schreuder took charge – but Atletico carved open the better chances of a goalless first half. They were not aided by the early withdrawal of Thomas Lemar through a muscle injury, shortly after the midfielder had tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen from just inside the box.