Barcelona failed to win without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as Malaga battled to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou.
The defending champions were already without Suarez through suspension, and Messi was forced to withdraw on the morning of the game after suffering with a vomiting bug.
The visitors had Diego Llorente sent off in the 69th minute after fouling Neymar, but Barca could not make the extra man count. And Malaga finished the game with nine men after Juan Carlos’ late dismissal.
Luis Enrique’s men had 28 shots, but only eight of those were on target.
Paco Alcacer’s Barca misfortune continued when he had a goal ruled out for offside in the second minute and it was to be the start of another wretched day for the former Valencia forward.
Gerard Pique was involved in the main moments going forward, having a goal disallowed for offside and then being hauled down in the box soon afterwards as decisions went against Barca.
Neymar had the final chance deep into injury-time, but Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni made the last in a series of excellent saves to keep out his header in a game where the visitors ended with nine men.
The draw leaves them a point behind leaders Real Madrid, who face Atletico later on Saturday.
Gabriel Mercado was the hugely controversial match-winner for Sevilla as they came from 2-0 down to beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 at the Estadio Riazor.
Goals from Ryan Babel and Florin Andone put the hosts in command, but Steven Nzonzi halved the deficit just before half-time.
Mercado could arguably have been red-carded for shoving Andone to the ground with a quarter of an hour to go, but then popped up with the winner in injury time after Vitolo had drawn the visitors level.
It could prove to be a vital win for Sevilla, who needed a result to boost their Champions League qualification hopes after a defeat to Barcelona prior to the international break.
Eibar climbed above Celta Vigo with Fran Rico’s early goal securing a 1-0 victory.
elta came into the contest full of confidence after a three-game unbeaten run had taken them into the top eight. But they ended the night with nine men as Sergio Alvarez and Hugo Mallo were both sent off in stoppage time.
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