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February 13, 2018

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No panic at Barca after another tie

AFTER Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 in La Liga at the Santiago Bernabeu in December, it looked like nobody could stop its run to the title.

The Catalans are still unbeaten in the league this season but after consecutive draws against Espanyol last weekend and Getafe on Sunday, their stranglehold on the title has slipped.

Atletico Madrid beat Malaga 1-0 on Saturday to cut down Barcelona’s lead and after Ernesto Valverde’s side failed to find the breakthrough in the 0-0 draw against Getafe, only 7 points divide the top two.

Atletico has the chance to cut that down further when it visits the Nou Camp on March 4, in a game that will likely be decisive in the title race.

With testing ties against Chelsea in the Champions League last-16 to come, as well as the Copa del Rey final, Barcelona has a tricky schedule.

Against Getafe it was reduced to pairing new signing Yerry Mina alongside left back Lucas Digne in central defense, although they did well to keep the visitors at bay.

However, the message from Barcelona is that it is not panicking. “These are the busy months of the season and we’re obliged to do well in all three competitions,” said captain Andres Iniesta.

The club’s director of institutional relations, Guillermo Amor, says the 7-point cushion is comfortable. “Seven points is a good gap and Atletico has to come here to play us. There’s a lot of points to go and we have to be positive.”


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