Advantage Real after Barca-Atleti draw

(L-R) Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on May 8, 2021 in Barcelona Spain.

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have fought out a goalless stalemate, handing control of the Spanish title race to Real Madrid.

If Zinedine Zidane's Real can win their final four matches, starting with the clash against Sevilla on Sunday, they will be champions.

At Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, Ousmane Dembele might have won it for the hosts, who moved second on 75 points from 35 games, but he headed over late on.

Atletico lead with 77 points from 35 games, while Real Madrid, third, are on 74 but have played a game less.

Lionel Messi fired over a free-kick in the final stages, but Barcelona's captain could not help Ronald Koeman's team muscle into first position.

Atletico now need to win their remaining games and hope rivals Real drop points to win the title after this tight, tense but ultimately fruitless battle at Camp Nou.

"It's a shame, as we wanted the three points to try to stay in the fight for La Liga, but we have to continue," said Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo.

"There are three games to go, there's a lot at stake and we will play these games to try and win the title."

Barcelona started slowly and things got worse for them when Sergio Busquets was forced off with a head injury.

Atletico began to dominate the ball and Marc-Andre ter Stegen was kept busy, while Clement Lenglet did well to block Angel Correa's strike.

At the other end Jan Oblak clawed away a Messi effort, after the Argentina forward had dribbled past several Atletico players.

In the second half the tension rose but neither side were able to find a breakthrough, with Oblak keeping out Gerard Pique's header.

Earlier on Saturday, Alaves had drawn 2-2 at Levante.

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