Barcelona were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Champions League chasing Sevilla on Friday evening to blow the Spanish title race wide open.
In a game of few chances, the visitors came closest to breaking the first half deadlock, but Lionel Messi's goal bound free kick was headed over by Jules Kounde.
Sevilla had opportunities of their own, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved twice from top scorer Lucas Ocampos in the second half to ensure the scores remained all square.
Barcelona were left to reflect on a frustrating evening as, despite their dominance in possession and wealth of attacking talent, they failed to break down Sevilla's rigid back line and create any clear cut opportunities.
Ivan Rakitic fired just wide from distance in the first half, and Luis Suarez fired over first time from Jordi Alba's cross as the clock ticked down in the second period, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen was made to work more than Tomas Vaclik in the Sevilla goal.
The result leaves the title race finely poised. Barcelona remain top of La Liga, but Real Madrid will draw level on points if they win against sixth place Real Sociedad on Wednesday - who themselves are still very much in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
Real hold the superior head to head record, and a win in their next game would give them the upper hand in the title race.
What They Said
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was in pessimistic spirits following the stalemate, conceding that Real Madrid are now in the driving seat in the title race.
"Seeing how the matches have gone so far, it's going to be very difficult for us to win this league," Pique said [via the Daily Mail].
"The draw leaves us in a position where we no longer depend on ourselves and looking at the fixtures it's difficult to imagine Real Madrid are going to drop points but we'll still give everything to try and win it."
However, manager Quique Setién insisted the title race is still wide open, despite his defender's post-match negativity.
"I think Pique's words came from frustration," Setién said, via Marca. "I'm sure he'll think different tomorrow, I'm certain that Real Madrid are not going to win every game.
"We knew beforehand that it would be very difficult to win every game - it was practically impossible. It's not that I'm satisfied with only getting a point, but it's the lesser of two evils."
How the Fans Reacted
Barcelona fans were left frustrated by their side's lack of potency in attack and inability to break down Sevilla. Quique Setién's decision to play Suarez for the full 90 minutes, while the fact that Ansu Fati remained an unused substitute was another source of discontent.
Sevilla secured what could prove to be a vital point as they edge closer to booking their place in next season's Champions League. They put in a stubborn defensive performance, with their back four often becoming a back five, restricting Barcelona to just three shots on target.
The hosts could have even claimed all three points at the death, but on loan Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon failed to make clean contact with the ball when it fell kindly to him in the box.
The result leaves Sevilla five points clear of fifth place Getafe, and three ahead of Atletico Madrid in fourth - although the pair have a game in hand - with the Champions League race poised to go right down to the wire.