Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both failed to seize the initiative at the top of the La Liga table as they drew 0-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Both sides had chances to win the game but neither were able to break the deadlock on what was a pivotal afternoon in the race for the league title.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
Oblak saves the day for Atleti… again
There’s not a lot left that can be said about Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak that hasn’t already been said. However, the Slovenian was key once again for the hosts as he added to his highly impressive number of clean sheets with string of eye-catching saves to deny the hosts.
In all, he produced seven saves throughout the match as he managed to keep the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann quiet.
His most impressive stop arguably came before the break as Messi attempted to score what would have been a trademark goal from the Argentine following a jinking run. However, Oblak produced a stunning fingertip save to deny the Barca man.
In 35 matches in the league so far this season, the former Benfica man now has 18 clean sheets. If Atleti do end up claiming the league title, Oblak will certainly have played a big part in that success.
Inconsistent Atleti continue to stumble
Whilst a draw at the Camp Nou is not usually perceived as a bad result for a visiting team, especially when sealing a clean sheet, it extends Atletico Madrid’s recent run of tricky form that has seen them fall from nailed on champions to potentially finishing in third place.
Of their last 16 games in the league since early February, Los Rojiblancos have won just seven and have secured back to back victories just once.
With just three matches of their season remaining, it is now looking likely that they will have to win each of those in order to stand any chance of winning the league for the first time since 2014.
With a win for either in this particular fixture, they would have established themselves as firm favourites for the La Liga crown. However, with each of them having failed to open the scoring and win the game at the Camp Nou, they have inadvertently handed the advantage to Real Madrid.
As it stands, there is now just three points separating each of the sides and the race for the title is really going to go down to the wire. Los Blancos have a game in hand though against Sevilla on Sunday evening and should they win that then will move up to top spot owing to their superior head-to-head record against the current leaders.
Diego Simeone’s men remain as favourites to win the league at a price of 5/4 with Betfair but this result has without a doubt handed Real considerable encouragement.
FC Barcelona: ter Stegen (7); Alba (6), Mingueza (5) (Araujo (6), 45′), Pique (7), Lenglet (6), Dest (6) (Dembele (6), 75′); de Jong (6), Busquets (6) (Moriba (6), 32′), Pedri (6) (Roberto (6), 75′); Messi (7), Griezmann (6).
Atletico Madrid: Oblak (7); Hermoso (7), Felipe (6), Savic (7); Carrasco (6), Llorente (7), Koke (7), Trippier (6); Lemar (N/A) (Saul (6), 13′) (Felix (6), 67′), Correa (6), Suarez (6).
Referee: Mateu Lahoz
Yellow Cards: Saul (35′), Felipe (46′), Moriba (58′), Koke (65′) Alba (82′), de Jong (82′)
Red Cards: N/A
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