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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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBarcelona373034108198993
2Real Madrid372926111357689
3Atletico MadridAtletico37238667293877
4Valencia372111567303774
5Sevilla37227868432573
6Villarreal371612948331560
7Athletic Bilbao371410133841-352
8Malaga37148154045-550
9Espanyol371310144548-349
10Rayo Vallecano37154184464-2049
11Celta Vigo371212134442248
12Real Sociedad371013144049-943
13ElcheElche37117193562-2740
14Getafe37107203057-2737
15Levante3799193467-3336
16Granada37713172964-3534
17Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo37713173358-2534
18EibarEibar3788213155-2432
19Almeria3788213361-2832
RCordobaCordoba37311232265-4320