Skip to main content

La Liga deadlock continues as Barca and Atletico draw

updated 5:45 PM EST, Sat January 11, 2014
Lionel Messi tangles with former teammate David Villa during the 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Saturday.
Lionel Messi tangles with former teammate David Villa during the 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • La Liga's top two sides play out 0-0 draw as season reaches halfway point
  • Both Barca and Atletico have 50 points from 19 games with Barca top on goal difference
  • Real Madrid can close gap with leaders to three points with win at Espanyol on Sunday

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Barcelona and Atletico Madrid remain virtually inseparable in La Liga after Saturday night's top-of-the-table clash at the Vicente Calderon Stadium ended in a 0-0 draw.

As the season reaches its halfway point, both the Catalans and the Red and Whites have 50 points, with only Barcelona's superior goal difference separating the two teams.

The first half was a tight affair with both teams careful not to give away an early advantage in what could be a decisive game in the fight for the title.

Read more: Who will be crowned world's best footballer?

Despite scoring twice in his comeback match against Getafe in midweek, Lionel Messi once again started on the bench but came on for the injured Andres Iniesta at halftime.

Robbie Rogers: Gay slurs 'scarred me'
Portugal remembers football legend Eusebio
Footballer fights back after cancer

The Argentine's introduction gave Barca more bite in attack but still Atletico held firm.

Neymar's arrival in the 66th minute -- the Brazilian striker also started on the bench after missing the match against Getafe with a bout of gastroenteritis -- added another string to Barcelona's attacking bow but a goal didn't materialize.

Messi, who will be hoping to retain FIFA's Ballon D'Or when the winner is announced on Monday, passed and probed but couldn't find a way through. His best chance came nine minutes from the end but the 26-year-old was denied by a fine save from Atletico's Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Diego Simeone's side had their moments too with Diego Costa narrowly missing out at the far post when Brazilian defender Miranda flicked on Koke's corner kick in the 28th minute.

Turkish midfielder Arda Turan, who provided much of the Atletico's creative spark, also saw a chance go begging with 12 minutes to go -- his mistimed volley easily scooped up by Barcelona's keeper Victor Valdes.

Both teams are now six points ahead of third place Real Madrid, but Carlo Ancelotti's side will reduce their arrears to three if they beat Espanyol on Sunday.

In Saturday's other La Liga fixtures, fouth-placed Athletic Bilbao romped to a 6-1 victory over Almeria while Valencia's stuttering season continued as they went down 2-1 at Celta Vigo.

Two matches were played in Serie A on Saturday with Parma climbing to seventh after running out 3-0 winners at second-from-bottom Livorno while the match between Bologna and Lazio ending goalless.

League leaders Juventus travel to Cagliari on Sunday with second place Roma entertaining Genoa.

Fifth place Hellas Verona host third place Napoli and Fiorentina, who are currently fourth, travel to Torino.

Inter play Chievo Verona at the San Siro on Monday evening.

Read more: Relief for Moyes as Man Utd stop the rot

Read more: Does football take homophobia seriously?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT