Barcelona fell to a limp goalless draw at Elche but stayed in the title race courtesy of Atletico Madrid also dropping points at home to Malaga.
It leaves Barcelona three points adrift of leaders Atletico ahead of the sides’ title showdown at Camp Nou.
Victory would guarantee Barca the title by virtue of a superior head-to-head record. Real Madrid's defeat at Celta Vigo ended their Liga aspirations.
The visitors dominated the early exchanges but struggled to find a way through a resolute Elche backline although they went close when Andres Iniesta thumped a volley against the crossbar.
Lionel Messi blew an opportunity to edge the visitors ahead after the restart but it was Elche who went closest to snatching victory with Garry Rodrigues firing wide late on.
13’ – INIESTA HITS THE BAR! Iniesta crashes a spectacular volley against the crossbar. Looks like Manu got a slight touch on that. Top save.
24’ – ELCHE GO CLOSE! Garry Rodrigues is unmarked at the back-post but can't divert his volley on target.
47 – MESSI BLOWS IT! Messi has all the time in the world to fire Barca ahead but – despite lots of neat tricks – the Argentine proceeds to fire straight at the keeper.
68’ – BARCA CHANCE! Pedro flashes a low cross across the face of goal but Alves mistimes his flick and completely misses the ball from inside the six-yard box.
79’ – RODRIGUES ALMOST WINS IT! Rodrigues pops up on the inside-left channel and has a great chance to end Barca's title bid... Just over! What. A. Chance.
Elche have won six and lost six of their last 15 home league games against Barcelona, drawing the other three.
Elche failed to muster a shot at goal during the match.
Do Barcelona deserve to win the title? Barca have failed to hit their high standards over the past couple of months but, incredibly, stand one game away from winning the title. They look increasingly glum and lack belief but are still in with a great shout of ending the season with glory.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Manu (Elche): Frustrated Barcelona with a series of fine saves – the highlight when he tipped Iniesta’s volley onto the bar.
Elche: Manu 8, Lomban 6, Pelegrin 7, D. Cisma 6, R. Perez 6, C. Sanchez 6, J. Marquez 6, Rodrigues 6, Carles Gil 6, Coro 6. Subs: Rivera 6, Boakye 6, Fidel N/A.
Barcelona: Pinto 6, Dani Alves 6, Mascherano 6, Bartra 6, Adriano 6, Sergio 6, Fabregas 5, Iniesta 6, Alexis 7, Messi 5, Pedro 5. Subs: Tello 6, Xavi 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Andres Iniesta
- Atletico Madrid
- Lionel Messi
- Garry Rodrigues
- Real Madrid