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SPORTS

Barcelona and Atletico draw to give Real Madrid La Liga advantage

FOOTBALL By Reuters | May 9th 2021
Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - May 8, 2021. FC Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele reacts after missing a chance to score. [REUTERS/Albert Gea]

The La Liga title race was blown wide open after Barcelona and Atletico Madrid played out a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou on Saturday.

The stalemate means that should third-placed Real Madrid beat fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday, they will move top of the table - level on 77 points with Atletico - but ahead given their superior head-to-head record with just three games to play.

Barcelona moved up to second place on Saturday with 75 points.

"We're still in the mix. La Liga's still wide open, three games is a lot even if we know it's not in our hands anymore," Barca defender Gerard Pique said.

"Anything can happen. I'd like to know if any other side in La Liga has won four in a row, it's only something we've done.

"If we win our remaining three matches, I think we'll win the league. We're going to fight until the end, even if we haven't done what we needed."

The visitors enjoyed much the better of the first half, with Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen making a number of stops to keep his side level.

Atleti forward Angel Correa was also denied by a last-gasp block from Clement Lenglet when he appeared set to score, while defender Felipe missed arguably the most gilt-edged opportunity of the game just before the break, firing over from close range after a well-worked corner.

Barca's best chance came through a piece of brilliance from forward Lionel Messi, who slalomed his way past five opponents, only to see Jan Oblak produce a fingertip save.

The Catalans improved after the break, with substitute Ronald Araujo's effort ruled out for offside before fellow replacement Ousmane Dembele's close-range header sailed over the bar.

However, ultimately neither side was able to find a way through and they handed the initiative back to Real in what has been a topsy-turvy season. 

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