Atletico Madrid failed to make up ground on their main LaLiga rivals after being held to a goalless draw by Espanyol.
With leaders Real Madrid drawing at Barcelona in the Clasico there was a chance to cut the gap to the top to seven points.
However, Diego Simeone's side failed to break down their opponents and their lack of threat up front was their downfall once again.
Atletico have now dropped eight points in their last four league matches - having failed to score in three of them - and remain a distant fourth in the table.
Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores, on his return to his former club, would have been more than happy to leave with a point as they made it eight league matches unbeaten.
Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin threatened early on for the hosts with Gabi forcing the first save out of Diego Lopez.
Espanyol created a couple of openings in the first half, both falling to Gerard Moreno who twice tested Jan Oblak.
The second half was more open with Atletico's Tiago and Espanyol's Leo Baptistao trading efforts, with Oblak later denying the latter again.
As the match approached its final half-hour the hosts turned up the tempo with Yannick Carrasco missing the target from distance before Gabi's low effort was saved by Lopez.
Jose Gimenez was wide with a header as Atletico became increasingly desperate for a goal but their last chance fell to Griezmann and he could not beat the goalkeeper.