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Atletico went into the game two points clear of Barcelona at the top, with Madrid separating the two sides in second place ahead of their game with Sevilla on Sunday.
Barcelona were dealt a blow when Sergio Busquets was forced off with a head injury after half an hour.
With very little to separate the two sides, Atletico came closest to finding the net during the opening period as Luis Suarez – on his return to his former club – was denied from close range.
Ousmane Dembele missed a glorious chance when he headed wide at the far post as Barcelona took control of the second period before Lionel Messi’s free-kick veered inches wide.
The result means Atletico remains in the top spot on 77 points, with Barcelona leapfrogging Real Madrid into second place on 75 points.
Current champions Madrid – on 74 points – can move top if they beat Sevilla on Sunday by virtue of their superior head-to-head record with Atletico.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK