Barcelona, Atletico Madrid lose perfect records
Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw at Osasuna on Saturday, leaving the Spanish champions one win short of matching the La Liga record for most victories at the start of a season.
• Corrigan: Madrid's midfield
Lionel Messi came on as a substitute in the 68th minute after recovering from a right leg injury this week, but not even Barcelona's all-time leading scorer could unlock Osasuna's defence.
An organised Osasuna struggled with possession from the start and did well to keep Barcelona in check throughout.
With Messi watching, Barcelona were limited to Neymar's occasional incursions with his diabolic dribbling and a header from defender Marca Bartra that he thumped well over from outside the six-yard box in the 44th minute.
The first cracks began to show in Osasuna's defence in the second half when Cesc Fabregas wasted Xavi Hernandez's throughball by shooting over the bar just after the hour.
Messi came on shortly after but he was unable to get a clear look at goal as Osasuna took off their lone striker and added midfielder Francisco Punal to hang on to the point.
"We knew it would be a complicated game," said Barcelona defender Carles Puyol, who played his first game in seven months after recovering from knee surgery. "These grounds are always tough. We had our chances but just lacked that finishing touch in the final meters."
The draw left Barcelona three points ahead of Real Madrid following their 2-0 win over Malaga, thanks to goals by Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Di Maria scored for Madrid seconds after half-time with a cross intended for Ronaldo that caught Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero out of position.
Madrid's 100 million-euro winger Gareth Bale came on for the final 15 minutes after recovering from a leg injury and earned a questionable penalty that Ronaldo converted in injury time. Ronaldo's eighth goal of the season took him level with Messi. Both trail Atletico striker Diego Costa with 10.
Barcelona host Real Madrid next weekend in the first clasico of the season after both play Italian rivals, AC Milan and Juventus, in the Champions League in midweek.
Atletico Madrid's perfect start to the season also ended as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Espanyol. Unusually, an own goal by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois proved the difference as Atletico failed to make the most of Barcelona's earlier slip up.
Also on Saturday, Real Sociedad ended an eight-game winless streak in all competitions with a morale-boosting 2-1 victory at Valencia, before they travel to Manchester United on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Antoine Griezmann opened for Sociedad in the 41st minute and Ruben Pardo sent a swerving long strike just inside the post to effectively seal the result in the 59th. Dorlan Pabon snatched Valencia's consolation goal before the final whistle.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.