( dpa ) - Barcelona suffered a serious setback in their campaign to catch up with Real Madrid, being held to a 1-1 draw Sunday in Bilbao.
The disappointing draw leaves Barca with 44 points from 21 games, six points behind leaders Real, who later Sunday are at home to third-placed Villarreal.
Barca went ahead in the 35th minute when 17-year-old Bojan Krkic scored with a low, left-footed drive, after being set up by Deco.
Lionel Messi came close to making it 2-0 on the hour. But Barca relaxed prematurely, and in the 75th minute the lively hosts equalized as supersup Fernando Llorente turned in a centre from the right from Aitor Ramos.
Earlier Sunday, Atetico Madrid suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Mallorca on a solitary goal from Juan Arango.
Atletico winger Jose Antonio Reyes picked up a second yellow card late, ending the visitors' chances of snatching a draw.
The defeat leaves Atletico in fourth place with 37 points, two behind Villarreal.
In fifth place on 36 points are Espanyol, who also suffered a shock defeat Sunday at home 2-1 to lowly Betis.
Racing Santander remain in sixth place on 33 points after a 2-2 draw at home to Zaragoza.
In joint seventh place, now level with Sevilla on 29 points, are Almeria, who won 1-0 at crisis club Valencia with an early goal from Felipe Melo.
Valencia fall to 11th place and have not won in La Liga since November 11. The hapless Mestalla crowd spent the second half demanding the resignation of unpopular coach Ronald Koeman.
Levante remain rock bottom on 12 points, despite winning 3-2 at Murcia.
Second from bottom on 20 points are Deportivo Coruna, who beat Valladolid 3-0.
Then come Murcia and Huelva - who lost 3-1 at home to Getafe - on 22 points, and Bilbao and Osasuna on 23.