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
1Barcelona362745104297585
2Atletico MadridAtletico36274560164485
3Real Madrid362664105327384
4Villarreal351710842311161
5Celta Vigo35169104955-657
6Athletic Bilbao351671253431055
7Sevilla351410114942752
8Valencia351111134442244
9Las PalmasLas Palmas36127174449-543
10Malaga351012133132-142
11EibarEibar36119164656-1042
12Real Sociedad36119164247-542
13Real Betis361011153150-1941
14Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo35718104357-1439
15Espanyol35107183567-3237
16Granada3699184265-2336
17Rayo Vallecano36811174870-2235
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon3698193761-2435
19Getafe3588193364-3132
20Levante3578203363-3029