Barcelona missed a 15-point lead at the La Liga summit after a goalless draw at home against Girona on Monday.
Real Madrid lost 3-2 to Villarreal on Saturday, but Xavi’s blaugrana failed to fire two days later, leaving Barcelona 13 points ahead of second-placed Los Blancos.
A fine performance by Paulo Gazzaniga kept the energetic hosts at bay and Valentin Castellanos missed the best moment of the game when he scored wide in the second half at the Camp Nou.
The stalemate ended Barça’s four-match winning streak, but Xavi’s side remain undefeated at home in La Liga this season as the Blue-Whites march towards the title.
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Viktor Tsygankov converted a good opportunity from the summer as Girona got off to a positive start, although Barça had to break the deadlock twice in the first 10 minutes.
Robert Lewandowski nearly rolled over after an Ansu Fati drop, while Gazzaniga’s desperate jump saved Santiago Bueno from an inexplicable own-hand pass.
Another clever shot by Gazzaniga kept Rafinha out before the Girona goalkeeper – almost in his own net – somehow snatched Ronald Araujo’s shot out of the resulting corner.
Eric Garcia headed in from close range just after the break, but Girona was to strike first shortly after.
Castellanos escaped Barça’s offside trap but set up the net leaving only Marc-André ter Stegen to beat, leaving Girona to regret missing an opportunity that could have brought a memorable win against their Catalan rivals, who themselves missed several promising opportunities at the end.
What does it mean? Xavi’s warning ignored
In the pre-match press conference, Xavi warned his Barcelona players not to be reckless in their quest for a 15-point lead in La Liga, though the Blue Garnet stars did not heed that warning.
Girona was a good price for a close-fought point, though the visitors may look back with regret after Castellanos squandered a brilliant chance to secure their first league win over Barça since September 2017.
Barça are firmly on their way to the title, but wasteful performances like this show, Xavi’s young blue garnet team still has a lot of work to do.
Raphinha’s unrestrained efforts are in vain
Rafinha seemed to be everywhere as Barça tried and failed to break through Girona’s impressive defense led by Gazzaniga who made three brilliant saves.
The Brazilian international converted four big chances, including two brilliant set-pieces, but his hard work ended without the reward he deserved.
Castellanos had time and space to think about how to beat Ter Stegen with a huge second half chance, although somehow he failed to hit the target after a one-on-one race.
This topped off a disappointing run by the Girona striker who completed just five passes, won two meager encounters and recorded just 14 touches before his 60th-minute exit.
Barça will visit Getafe on Sunday when Girona hosts Elche.