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By ESPN Staff

Barca won't 'throw in the towel' in title race

MADRID, April 7 (Reuters) - Barcelona are clinging on to the hope they can deprive arch-rivals Real Madrid of the league title despite spurning yet another opportunity to close the gap on the leaders.

The Catalans were given the chance to crank up the pressure on the champions after Bernd Schuster's side were held 1-1 at Mallorca on Saturday, but they only managed a goalless draw at home to Getafe the following day.

The result prompted an angry response from the Nou Camp faithful who expressed their disapproval by waving their handkerchiefs at the end of the match while several hundred fans staged a noisy demonstration inside the stadium.

Barca have won just one of their last six league matches and remain seven points behind Real with seven games left to play.

'It seems like no one wants to win this league,' Barca president Joan Laporta said after the Getafe match. 'It wasn't a good night for us as we fought hard and created plenty of chances but the ball didn't want to go in.

'I still think we can win the league though. It is a very unpredictable title race and we can't throw in the towel just yet.'

Like Barca, Villarreal also missed their chance to close on Real when their nine-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Sevilla on Sunday.

Villarreal remain in second place thanks to their better head-to-head record in games against the Catalans, but in contrast to Barca they believe the title race is effectively over.

'Villarreal have never been candidates to win the title,' said Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini. 'We are candidates for the runners-up spot but Real are seven points ahead of us which is a huge difference.

'We have to focus on the battle for second place because that is a huge objective for a club like Villarreal.'