Title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid share spoils in Nou Camp stalemate

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LaLiga title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid drew a blank in Saturday’s contest at the Nou Camp.

The hosts would have gone top with a victory but the 0-0 draw means Diego Simeone’s team preserve their two-point advantage at the top, with three matches remaining.

However, city rivals Real can join them on 77 points if they can win Sunday’s match against fourth-placed Sevilla.

The visitors had the best chances before half-time, with Barca – and Lionel Messi in particular – looking more threatening after the break.

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Atletico’s Thomas Lemar had an early chance before the France international midfielder was forced off with a muscular injury in the 18th minute, replaced by Saul Niguez.

Angel Correa threatened for the Rojiblancos, who were playing away for the third successive match, before Marc Andre ter Stegen denied Marcos Llorente.

Atletico’s former Barca star Luis Suarez was the next to be denied by the Germany goalkeeper, before Felipe was off-target with a shot.

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Lionel Messi came closest to a winning goal in the closing stages (Joan Monfort/AP)

However, Ronald Koeman’s team did most of the creating in the second half of a tight contest.

Saul was himself replaced by Joao Felix in the 68th minute, the Portugal international introduced from the bench for a third successive match as he steps up his return to full fitness following ankle trouble.

Messi, who had fired wide in the first half, saw a free-kick saved by Jan Oblak, before Ousmane Dembele headed over for the home side.

Messi came closest to finding a winner in the closing stages – but the Argentinian was narrowly wide with a 25-yard free-kick.