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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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid21164156183852
2Barcelona23156263194451
3Sevilla23154446281849
4Atletico MadridAtletico23136443192445
5Real Sociedad2313283632441
6Villarreal23109430151539
7EibarEibar2310583631535
8Athletic Bilbao2310582828035
9Celta Vigo2210393636033
10Espanyol238873031-132
11AlavesAlaves237972228-630
12Las PalmasLas Palmas237793235-328
13Malaga236893137-626
14Real Betis2266102235-1324
15Valencia2265113140-923
16Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2247112635-919
17Leganes2346131639-2318
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon2344152547-2216
19Granada2337132149-2816
20Osasuna2317152452-2810