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.

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1Barcelona21163254173751
2Atletico MadridAtletico22153431102148
3Real Madrid22145364204447
4Villarreal22135429181144
5Sevilla2210663123836
6Athletic Bilbao2210483330334
7Celta Vigo2210483335-234
8EibarEibar229673528733
9Malaga238692120130
10Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2261243027330
11Getafe2375112635-926
12Valencia2251072623325
13Real Sociedad2266102634-824
14Espanyol2264122041-2122
15Real Betis2257101531-1622
16Sporting GijonSporting Gijon2163122335-1221
17Las PalmasLas Palmas2256112334-1121
18Rayo Vallecano2255122847-1920
19Granada2255122444-2020
20Levante2245132141-2017