Barcelona: A clinical Cesc Fabregas strike rescued a point for champions Barcelona to secure them a 2-2 draw away to top of the table Valencia on Wednesday. (Agencies)
After the first weekend of fixtures there were complaints that la liga had turned into a two horse race as both Barca and Real Madrid won by large margins but since then it has not gone their way and Valencia lead the way with ten points.
Indeed Real dropped further points as they followed up their shock defeat to Levante last weekend by being held 0-0 by modest Racing Santander.
Barcelona started at the Mestalla without the injured Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique while David Villa was rested in attack.
The home side went ahead after just eleven minutes when Eric Abidal put a Jeremy Mathieu cross into his own net but just two minutes later Pedro Rodriguez equalised after an interchange between Cesc and Lionel Messi.
It was far from a typical display from Barcelona though as Valencia enjoyed plenty of possession in the middle of the pitch and they went ahead again via a Mathieu cross with Pablo Hernandez slotting the ball home unmarked at the far post.
Then before half time Roberto Soldado missed in front of an empty goal.
It was not until the final stages of the match that Barca asserted themselves on the game and it was once again the Messi and Fabregas combination which has worked so well this season that made the difference.
The Argentine found the former Arsenal man, who kept his head and placed the ball past the keeper.
In injury time Valencia defender Jordi Alba was given a straight red card for a comment he made to the referee.
Real coach Jose Mourinho rang the changes after the 1-0 defeat by Levante at the weekend which included Jose Callejon and Lassana Diarra coming into the side but it was another ineffective performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a header well saved by keeper Tono Rodriguez before the break and in the second half the introduction of Angel Di Maria did make some difference but he was unable to change the course of the match.
In the closing stages Real were reduced to pumping the ball forward hopefully and Racing were able to hang on. The draw leaves Real Madrid on seven points, three adrift of Valencia.
"This was a different match to that against Levante as here it felt as though there was only one side looking to win the game," said Mourinho.
"It is a worrying situation as we have now lost five points from two games away from home.
"It would be wrong to say one player hasn't scored or another one has failed but as a team we weren't at our best although we tried."
The result is good news for the reigning domestic and European champions Barcelona who lock horns later on Wednesday with Valencia.
Elsewhere on Wednesday Atletico Madrid recorded their second successive 4-0 win as they beat pointless Sporting Gijon with Colombian striker Falcao scoring a double following on from his hat-trick at the weekend.
A second half strike from Santi Cazorla gave Qatar-owned Malaga victory over Athletic Bilbao and Levante's good form continued with a 2-1 win away at Rayo Vallecano.
On Thursday Real Betis, another side with a 100 per cent record, face Zaragoza.
Barcelona: A clinical Cesc Fabregas strike rescued a point for champions Barcelona to secure them a 2-2 draw away to top of the table Valencia on Wednesday.