Soccer

Athletic Bilbao held by Alaves in Spanish league

  • FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, celebrates after scoring with his teammate Luis Suarez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

    FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, celebrates after scoring with his teammate Luis Suarez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)  (The Associated Press)

  • FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, celebrates after scoring with his teammate Luis Suarez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

    FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, celebrates after scoring with his teammate Luis Suarez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)  (The Associated Press)

  • FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, center, celebrates after scoring with teammates Denis Suarez, left, Neymar, second left, and Iniesta during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

    FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, center, celebrates after scoring with teammates Denis Suarez, left, Neymar, second left, and Iniesta during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)  (The Associated Press)

Athletic Bilbao was unable to feed off its superb win over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey midweek, and was held to a scoreless draw by promoted Alaves in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Three days after beating Barcelona 2-1 despite playing the final minutes with nine men, Athletic failed to win again at home and stayed in seventh place in the league standings.

It was 11th-place Alaves that came closest to scoring at San Mames Stadium when Victor Camarasa struck the left post with a right-foot shot from outside the area in the 36th minute.

Athletic needs a draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

Third-place Barcelona plays at fifth-place Villarreal later Sunday in the Spanish league to try to move within three points of Real Madrid, which routed Granada 5-0 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday. Sevilla moved to second by winning 4-0 at sixth-place Real Sociedad.

Madrid will have a game in hand after the end of this weekend's matches.