A Xavi free kick and an exquisite lob from Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to a 2-0 win at Sevilla that cut Real Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga back to seven points on Saturday.
Xavi netted after 18 minutes and World Player of the Year Messi bagged his 31st of the league campaign soon after, but having carved a host of first-half chances Barca spent much of the second period on the rack.
The scoreline could have had a completely different look but for some top-class saves from Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop and his opposite number Victor Valdes.
The champions survived a rocky patch in the second half to hold firm and move on to 63 points from 27 games.
Jose Mourinho’s Real, on 70 points, can restore their 10-point advantage on Sunday if they can beat fourth-placed Malaga at the Bernabeu.
“We played very well in the first half and we scored two goals and could have got more, but the second half was a different story,” Pique told Spanish television.
“We have done our job we got all three points now we need to see what happens tomorrow. At least they (Real) go out knowing we are there behind them and we are still in the fight.”
Osasuna climbed to fifth with 29 points after grabbing a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at basement side Real Zaragoza.
Portugal striker Helder Postiga had struck from outside the area to give Zaragoza the lead with five minutes to go but three minutes later Osasuna defender Roversio headed in from a corner.
Zaragoza stayed 20th with 19 points, eight short of safety and five behind 19th-placed Sporting Gijon.
Sporting, whose 62-year-old coach Javier Clemente was celebrating his 500th game in La Liga, lost 2-1 at fellow strugglers Granada to first-half strikes from Carlos Martins and Guilherme Siqueira.
Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez put the ball in his own net to give Getafe a 1-0 home win.