Barcelona 1-1 Cadiz: Ronald Koeman’s side suffer another blow in the LaLiga title race after late leveller from Cadiz – their ONLY shot on target – cancels out Lionel Messi’s early penalty
- Barcelona have lost ground in the LaLiga title race after minnows Cadiz stole a point with a last-gasp penalty
- Talisman Lionel Messi was on target again for the home team after a first-half penalty had been awarded
- Messi broke Xavi’s LaLiga appearance record for the club and also became the top flight’s joint-top scorer
- But Alex Rodriguez responded with a spot-kick of his own for the leveller after Clement Lenglet’s poor tackle
- The dramatic setback on Sunday means Barcelona are now eight points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid
Former Real Madrid youth team player Alex Fernandez scored an 88th minute penalty equaliser for Cadiz to leave Barcelona looking less and less like they might join this season’s title race.
Ronald Koeman’s side are still eight points off the pace and appear to have thrown away their chances in all three competitions in the space of just two weeks.
It was another clumsy penalty box challenge from Clement Lenglet that left Fernandez with the chance to level so late in the game. But Barcelona had only gone into the last minutes hanging on because they failed to kill off a game they should have won easily.
A late penalty for Cadiz saw the LaLiga minnows steal a point at Barcelona and pile the misery on the hosts after a horror week
Lionel Messi made history for Barcelona but the hosts lost even more ground in the title race after shipping the late leveller
Barcelona are now eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and failed to respond to their Champions League humiliation
The 19 per cent possession that Cadiz made the most of in the dying minutes only served to further compound their misery.
Gerard Pique said after the game: ‘The result hurts because after Atletico lost we had a chance to get into the race.
‘To lose in the last minutes with a penalty is hard to take that we have not moved closer to the leaders.
‘Every game we don’t win it becomes harder. Everyone will drop points but we have to get on a good run. If we do that we still have a chance.’
Barcelona: ter Stegen, Dest (Mingueza 80), Pique, Lenglet, Alba, de Jong, Busquets (Pjanic 65), Pedri (Trincao 74), Dembele (Puig 80), Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 65)
Subs not used: Neto, Fernandes, Umtiti, Firpo, Pena
Goals: Messi 32
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Cadiz: Ledesma, Carcelen, Fali, Mauro, Espino, Garrido (Mari 58), Salvi (Alejo 62), Sobrino, Perea (Jonsson 76), Izquierdo (Alex 59), Negredo (Lozano 59)
Subs not used: Jonsson, Pombo, Saponjic, Gil, Alcala, Malbasic, Flere, Valeron
Goals: Alex 89
Manager: Alvaro Cervera
Messi slotted home coolly from the spot after Pedri moved into the Cadiz penalty area and went to ground under a challenge
Alex Fernandez responded with a penalty of his own on the cusp of 90 minutes following Clement Lenglet’s clumsy challenge
They dominated early on but their aim was off. After Messi’s first effort was blocked by Fali, Dembele fired high over Jeremias Ledesma’s bar. Messi then sent another shot wildly off-target and Antoine Griezmann did likewise.
With the wind swirling around the Camp Nou and Cadiz having sacrificed one of their strikers to play a 4-5-1 it was proving tough for Barcelona.
But Messi’s aim improved and Ledesma had to dive full stretch to stop his shot going in the top corner. It was a fine save but he could do nothing to prevent Messi converting a penalty.
Pedri squeezed between two Cadiz players just inside the area and they combined to bring him down. Messi had never scored against Cadiz but he rolled the ball into the corner as the keeper fell the other way and it was 1-0.
Barcelona talisman Messi stole the show once again at the Nou Camp and was a constant threat as the hosts pushed forward
Frenkie de Jong was unable to squeeze a shot in from a tight angle as Barcelona looked to pick up an invaluable win on Sunday
It was his 16th goal of the season – he’s now level with Luis Suarez as the league’s top scorer. Beating his old pal to top scorer status will be little consolation if Barcelona end up with nothing.
Ruben Sobrino should have equalized within two minutes. He put Salvi’s cross wide unmarked in the six-yard box but again Barcelona’s defensive shortcomings were exposed.
At the restart Barcelona were slow out of the blocks and Cadiz made little attempt to throw more men forward knowing in doing so they would leave more space behind. One mazy run from Dembele ended with him not testing Ledesma but he was at least looking for second goal he went close once more but shot wide.
Barcelona’s other expensive French forward was looking less likely to trouble the scorers and Griezmann wore a long face as he was taken off with 20 minutes left. Pedri was the next to be taken off. It was a less understandable substitution especially after he almost set up the second. He put Messi clear but the captain fired over.
Barcelona pressed after half-time to net another goal and settle any nerves with stopper Jeremias Ledesma forced into action
Messi was presented with several openings but found himself quickly shut out by Cadiz with the minnows defending stoutly
Boss Ronald Koeman watched on from the sideline as his team lost ground in the title race thanks to the last-gasp spot kick
Messi shot wide again and Riqui Puig prepared to come on. His first intervention was to play the ball just behind Martin Braithwaite as Barcelona broke.
Messi then played a wall pass off of Braithwaite and went down under the challenge of Fali. The former Barcelona B-team player had got none of the ball but none of Messi so there was no penalty.
The same could not be said moments later when Lenglet went for a wild clearance and instead made contact with Sobrino and conceded his third penalty of the season.
Fernandez scored it and Barça’s chance to close the gap on leaders Atletico who slipped up on Saturday was gone.
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