Barcelona lost ground on Real Madrid when they were held to a 0-0 draw at rain-lashed Getafe on Saturday and slipped four points behind the La Liga leaders.
Real jetted off to the Club World Cup in Morocco after Friday’s 4-1 win at Almeria extended their Spanish record winning streak to 20 matches and Barca struggled against some gritty Getafe defending at the Coliseum in the Madrid suburbs.
Barca forward Lionel Messi was unable to convert the few chances that came his way and add to his 13 La Liga goals this season although he came closest for the visitors when he curled a 52nd-minute free kick against the crossbar.
The Argentina captain has hit the frame of the goal eight times in Spain’s top flight this term, twice as many times as the next most frequent, Real’s Karim Benzema.
Barca goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had little to do apart from leaping superbly to his left to palm a shot from Getafe forward Angel Lafita around the post in the 33rd minute.
Real have 39 points from 15 matches, four ahead of Barca in second. Third-placed champions Atletico Madrid can draw level on 35 points with Barca with a win at home to Villarreal on Sunday, reports Reuters.