Atletico Madrid squandered a chance to close to within nine points of La Liga leaders Barcelona when they were held to a 0-0 draw at fourth-placed Malaga on Sunday.
With two of the meanest defences in the Spanish top flight on display, goals were always going to be at a premium and neither side were able to seriously trouble the opposing goalkeeper in a tight game at the Rosaleda.
The result left Barca 11 points clear with 12 games left after they were beaten 2-1 at third-placed champions Real Madrid on Saturday.
It was the leaders' second loss to their arch-rivals in five days after Real dumped them out of the King's Cup 4-2 on aggregate and only their second defeat of the campaign following January's loss at Real Sociedad.
Barca have 68 points from 26 matches with Atletico on 57 and Real 55. Malaga trail on 43 points, one ahead of Valencia, who drew 2-2 at home to city rivals Levante on Saturday.
Real Mallorca gave their bid to survive the drop a boost when Israel striker Tomer Hemed nodded a 94th-minute winner in a 2-1 comeback victory at fellow strugglers Granada earlier on Sunday.
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Argentine legend and former Barcelona star Diego Maradona has revealed he dreams of coaching his compatriot Lionel Messi at the Catalan club. "My little dream would be one day to coach Leo at Barca," Maradona told Marca in an interview published today.
Maradona, world champion in 1986, has already coached Messi during a two-year spell in charge of the national side culminating in a disappointing 2010 World Cup.
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