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Primera División

  • 11 May 2014
  • • 18:00
  • • Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, Elche
  • Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 33069
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Elche 0-0 Barcelona: Catalans miss chance to gain ground on Atletico

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Gerardo Martino's side were held on Sunday evening, as were Atletico Madrid, meaning the title race will go down to the final day meeting between the sides

Barcelona remain three points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid after slipping to a goalless draw at Elche on Sunday.

The Spanish title will now be decided on the final day of the season after Atletico drew with Malaga in their penultimate league game, meaning that Barcelona will secure the league if they beat Diego Simeone’s men at Camp Nou next weekend.

Gerardo Martino's side would have grabbed the three points were it not for an inspired goalkeeping performance from Manu, who made fine saves to tip away Andres Iniesta's volley, Lionel Messi's free-kick, and another close-range effort from the Argentine.

Elche rarely threatened and were restricted to long-range efforts but a resolute defence that has only conceded twice at home in 2014 held firm.

The result gave Elche the point they needed to mathematically confirm their survival.

Elche were without the suspended Alberto Botia, and would have been behind after 13 minutes but Iniesta - on his 30th birthday - saw a sumptuous volley tipped onto the bar by Manu.

But Elche boast a fearsome home record, having gone unbeaten on their own patch since December, and they could have broken the deadlock after 22 minutes but Garry Rodrigues' cushioned volley was wild.

Messi weaved away from the opposition a minute later but saw his shot palmed away by Manu, who then saved Alexis Sanchez's near-post header with ease.

Manu produced another wonderful save before half-time when Messi's cross evaded everybody but the goalkeeper got down to his right to tip behind, and also thwarted a long-range effort from Alexis.

The personal battle between Messi and Manu resumed within two minutes of the second half when the forward sprung the offside trap but the goalkeeper stood for as long as he could and blocked the shot.

Elche's first attack of note in the second half came after 57 minutes when Carles Gil cut in from the right but his shot was too high to trouble Jose Manuel Pinto, and Rodrigues did the same from the other flank, with the same result.

The best chance of the second half fell to Dani Alves 10 minutes later when Pedro put in a delightful low cross but the Brazilian could not get a touch six yards out.

Martino's side could have seen their hopes go up in smoke had Rodrigues kept his close-range effort down as Elche broke at pace late on.

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