Spain round-up: Title hopefuls fire blanks

Saturday's games, including Valencia CF against RC Celta de Vigo, both finished goalless.

Primera División leaders Valencia CF were held to a goalless draw by second-placed RC Celta de Vigo, while RCD Mallorca forced another stalemate at home to FC Barcelona as Spain's top teams drew a collective blank on Saturday.

Back on track
A home draw for Valencia gave Rafael Benítez's side 43 points from 25 matches and kept them two points clear of Celta at the top of the table. Barcelona climbed to third place, a point further back, but Real Madrid CF and RC Deportivo La Coruña, who currently trail Barça on goal difference, will both have chances to overtake Valencia at the top of the table on Sunday. Madrid, who have taken just two points from their last four games, can get back on track at home to UD Las Palmas, while Deportivo host Villarreal CF.

Series of chances
Valencia had only themselves to blame for their failure to take a five-point lead at the top of the table, as they missed a series of chances against Celta. Former Madrid reserve Mista twice saw scuffed efforts scrambled away by the Celta defence and Pablo Aimar also squandered a great opportunity. John Carew came closest to breaking the deadlock in the final minute, when he sent a powerful header just over the bar.

Roa in fine form
Barcelona's hopes of claiming a third successive league win were thwarted by Mallorca goalkeeper Carlos Roa, who was in superb form throughout a game dominated by Carles Rexach's side. The former Argentinian international was sharp to race from his goal and block Rivaldo as the Brazilian burst through on 33 minutes and he pulled off an even better double-save just before the hour mark. Again it was Rivaldo who found space outside the area to fire in a shot. Roa stopped that effort with his chest and then managed to palm away a follow-up from lively substitute Javier Saviola.

Late chances
A tiring Rivaldo made way for fellow Brazilian Geovanni midway through the second half and Barcelona pressed forward with more intensity. Roa did brilliantly to keep out a goalbound Patrick Kluivert effort and Phillip Cocu was just wide with his near-post attempt a couple of minutes later. With six minutes to go, Roa saved at the feet of Gabri and Geovanni, following up, could only slide his shot wide. In the dying seconds Gabri missed another clear-cut chance, scooping the ball over from Saviola's cutback.

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