Menu Close

Barca almost lost without Messi

Barca missed the chance to enter La Liga’s top 4 when they drew 1-1 against Eibar, the team that was near the bottom of the table, right at the Camp Nou home ground in round 16, on the evening of December 29.

Due to not recovering from an ankle injury, Lionel Messi is extended his vacation in Argentina. Coach Ronald Koeman ranked Martin Braithwaite kicked, with the support just below the pair of Antoine Griezmann – Pedri.

In a poor day, Braithwaite was the agent that made Barca miss the chance to win. At the start of the match, Barca were awarded a penalty, after Ronald Araujo was fouled. Braithwaite took charge, but kicked it out. This is the third time that Barca has failed a penalty this season, more than any other team in La Liga. Before Braithwaite, Messi and Griezmann both failed once.

Missed phase of the home team as more spiritual motivation for Eibar. The visitors attack and create dangerous situations in the next 10 minutes. However, Barca quickly regained their stance. From a left-wing attack, Junior Firpo crossed for Braithwaite to cushion the ball in Eibar’s net, but the goal was not recognized because the Danish striker was offside.

Uncertainty clung to Griezmann. The French striker was not involved when Firpo dropped the ball at the end of the first half. But his left foot shot was both lacking in power and inaccuracy. Barca only finished four times in the first half – at least of the games they played at the Nou Camp this season, including one on target.

Witnessing the deadlock of the home team, Koeman brought Ousmane Dembele in for Sergino Dest at the end of the break. And the French striker immediately left his mark with the dribbling and deflected column at the beginning of the second half. Five minutes later, from Pedri’s shadowy road, Dembele faced goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, but the end was too gentle. Frenkie de Jong’s kick is like a return ball for the opponent.

Phung wasted many opportunities, Barca paid the price for a mistake in the defense. Araujo lost the ball awkwardly in the middle of the field, when the Barca squad rose to put pressure. Kike slammed the ball into the box and coolly defeated Marc-Andre ter Stegen. This is the fourth time a Barca player has made a mistake leading to a goal this season – the most in La Liga. Before Araujo, the personal mistakes of Neto Murara, Ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet once conceded them.

10 minutes after the goal, Barca equalized. Trincao’s horizontal line eliminated all Eibar’s defense. Dembele shoots up from behind and easily defeats Dmitrovic without a hitch. But the goal did not seem to help the home team relieve psychological pressure.

A bad defense by Dmitrovic gave Braithwaite a chance, but the striker missed. Trincao had two consecutive chances at the end of the second half. He cushioned the ball over the crossbar behind Philippe Coutinho’s cross. In injury time, the Portuguese player dribbles the ball skillfully in the penalty area but shoots out. Those are the last opportunities Barca created.

With just one point, Barca could not step into the top 4. Instead, they dropped to sixth as Sevilla beat Villarreal in the previous match. Koeman’s teachers and students have 25 points after 15 games, seven points behind the top team Atletico but more than two games.