Result: Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona

Pep Guardiola
© PA Photos
Barcelona fail to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid after their 1-1 draw at Espnayol in the Catalan derby.

Barcelona have failed to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 1-1 draw at Espanyol in the Catalan derby.

The match got off to a frantic start when Joan Verdu's back-post header was saved by visiting goalkeeper Victor Valdes. The midfielder was first to the rebound, but his shot cleared off the line by Gerard Pique.

Barca had a goal ruled out soon after when Cesc Fabregas tapped in following Lionel Messi's interception of keeper Cristian Alvarez's pass. However, the referee cancelled the goal out for a dubious handball by Messi.

Fabregas legitimately found the net minutes later when he powered a header past Alvarez from Dani Alves's cross.

Sergio Garcia's effort was parried away by Valdes as Espanyol put their opponents under pressure, while Christian Romaric blazed over from 25 yards.

Fabregas had a chance to double his side's lead just before the break, but his solo effort was tipped wide by the keeper.

Espanyol could have been reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time when Romaric appeared to elbow Pique when the pair challenged for an aerial ball.

Alves saw his shot easily saved by Alvarez just after the interval before the Brazilian had a goal ruled out for offside.

A tentative period of play followed before Xavi curled his free kick over the bar.

Messi nearly grabbed a second for Barca with 15 minutes to go, but his right-footed shot hit the post from a tight angle.

Espanyol grabbed their equaliser with five minutes to play when Alvaro Vazquez nodded in Thievy Bifoum's flick-on from Raul Rodriguez's cross.

Barca nearly found a winner in injury time when Pique's shot bounced back off the post to Pedro, whose shot was then blocked on the line.

Eric Abidal
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona352564104337181
2Real Madrid34256392395381
3Atletico MadridAtletico35218665254071
4Sevilla34208660402068
5Villarreal35189852282463
6Athletic Bilbao351951151381362
7Real Sociedad35194125448661
8EibarEibar35159115445954
9Espanyol351311114547-250
10AlavesAlaves351212113641-548
11Celta Vigo34135164957-844
12Valencia35117175061-1140
13Malaga34109154049-939
14Las PalmasLas Palmas35109165266-1439
15Real Betis35107183857-1937
16Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo35711173959-2032
17Leganes3579193053-2330
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon3559213870-3224
RGranada3548232874-4620
ROsasuna35310223784-4719