Eto'o brace saves Barca
Samuel Eto'o scored twice as leaders Barcelona came from two goals down to preserve their 22-match unbeaten league run with a 2-2 draw at Real Betis on Saturday.
The result gives champions Real Madrid, currently 13 points behind in second, a chance to cut the gap at the top to 10 points when they face Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
Juan Melli and former Liverpool man Mark Gonzalez put Betis into a 2-0 lead after just 25 minutes as Barcelona looked set for their first defeat since the opening day of the season.
Eto'o pulled a goal back close to half-time and then equalised six minutes from the end for his 23rd goal of the season but Barcelona's run of ten straight league wins still came to an end.
"A point isn't bad and I can't fault the players for their effort," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. "We dominated the game and had lots of chances to win it but Betis are a good side and they defended well .
"After so many consecutive victories it is normal that we eventually slip up and it happened here (in Seville)."
Barcelona had a number of stars in action on international duty during the week and Guardiola rested forwards Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry while captain Carles Puyol was missing through injury.
Barcelona had a nightmare start with Betis scoring twice inside seven minutes.
Melli found the target on 18 minutes with a fine header before Gonzalez struck for the hosts on 25 minutes after the visitors failed to deal with Sergio Garcia's cross.
Trailing 2-0 Barcelona got a break seconds before the break when Andres Iniesta used his quick feet to win a penalty although contact was minimal.
Eto'o stepped up and his weak spot-kick was saved by Ricardo but the ball fell back into his path and he reacted sharply to prod home the rebound.
Barcelona's unbeaten league run - stretching back to the opening day of the season - was under threat.
Betis, who won at rivals Sevilla for the first time in 13 years last weekend, thought they had made it 3-1 but a 48th minute strike was ruled out for offside.
A minute later Eto'o should have equalised. The Cameroon forward lost his marker with a great turn but shot wide with the whole goal to aim at.
Eto'o made amends late on though with the leveller to salvage a point.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna and Osasuna played out a scoreless draw at the Riazor Stadium.
Valencia, beaten by Osasuna last weekend, climbed to third above Sevilla on goal difference following a 1-1 draw with Malaga at the Mestalla Stadium.
Valencia had lost their last five away matches so a home match was welcome and David Villa put them ahead with his 18th goal of the season after 53 minutes.
Villa made history on Wednesday by becoming the first Spanish player to score in six successive internationals following his goal in Spain's 2-0 friendly victory over England and he produced another masterclass finish curling the ball into the top corner.Malaga, lying sixth just two points behind Valencia, equalised six minutes later when Raul Albiol put a cross into his own goal.
Champions Real Madrid play at Sporting Gijon Sunday hoping to repeat the 7-1 thrashing they gave the promoted outfit earlier this season.
Coach Juande Ramos must do without Dutch duo Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder who picked up knocks on international duty with the Netherlands while compatriot Rafael van der Vaart is suspended.