(CNN) -- Sevilla squandered a golden opportunity to take a rare glimpse of the summit in the Spanish league after being held 2-2 at home by 10-man strugglers Malaga on Saturday night.
The hosts had to come back from 2-0 to claim a point in the Andalusian derby which leaves them in third place, a point behind Barcelona.
Victory, however, would have put Sevilla equal on points with leaders Real Madrid, who face the Catalan champions in Sunday's El Clasico showdown at the Nou Camp.
Malaga, who moved out of the bottom three on goal difference, had Albert Luque sent off in just the 11th minute, but took the lead 11 minutes later through Fernando, and former Sevilla midfielder Duda doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime.
However, Brazil forward Fabiano made up for heading against the post in the first half as he pulled a goal back 13 minutes after the interval and then equalized in the 72nd minute to take his tally to seven in nine games.
The first was an unstoppable header from a corner by Jesus Navas and the next came courtesy of a pass from substitute Frederic Kanoute.
Sevilla almost snatched a late winner, but goalkeeper Gustavo Munua kept out a powerful header from Sebastien Squillaci.
Fourth-placed Valencia missed a chance to close the gap on the leaders after being held 1-1 by Real Mallorca.
Captain David Villa put the home side ahead with his league-leading 10th goal of the season from close range soon after halftime, having had a first-half effort ruled out for offside as he touched in David Silva's goalbound shot.
Mallorca snatched a point with five minutes to play when Borja Valero netted a penalty after a clumsy foul by Valencia defender Saltor Bruno on Gonzalo Castro.
Earlier, Sporting Gijon triumphed 1-0 at home to 10-man Villarreal despite missing two penalties.
Croatia striker Mate Bilic scored the only goal in the 75th minute after Alberto Rivera's spotkick was parried by Diego Lopez, following Villarreal defender Gonzalo Rodriguez's red card for a foul on Miguel De Las Cuevas.
Bilic should have doubled the lead in the 89th minute, but Lopez saved his penalty.