Another stumble by Real Madrid has cleared the path for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to dethrone the sitting La Liga champions.
Zinedine Zidane's depleted side produced a toothless attacking performance at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in drawing 0-0 with Real Betis - their second scoreless stalemate in three rounds.
Madrid climb to 71 points from 33 games - two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand while Barcelona are third on 68 points from 31 games.
"We tried, but we were lacking something in attack, like other times this season," Zidane said.
"But no matter what happens, we will keep fighting until the end.
"I don't think (Atletico and Barcelona) will win all their matches."
The slip came three days before Madrid face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Zidane, however, said he was confident the poor result won't impact their ambitions in Europe.
"One match has nothing to do with the other," Zidane said.
"We are going to prepare for the semifinal on Tuesday, which will be much more complicated than our game today."
The closest Madrid came to scoring in the steady rain was Rodrygo's errant cross hitting the crossbar in the 55th minute.
Eden Hazard added spark off the bench on his return from injury but Madrid didn't have enough in the tank to win.
Betis remain in sixth place but move level on 50 points with fifth-place Real Sociedad, as they look to qualify for the Europa League.
"We deserved more from this game," their coach, former Madrid boss, Manuel Pellegrini, said.
Valencia snatched a 1-1 draw against 10-man Alaves to keep the visitors down in 16th place, two points above the relegation zone.
All the action came in a frenetic conclusion with John Guidetti ging Alaves in the 84th, Javi Lopez being sent off three minutes later and Jose Gaya equalising in the 89th.
Elche beat Levante 1-0 to move one point clear of the drop zone in 17th while Real Valladolid fell back into the bottom three with their 1-1 against Cadiz.