Barcelona have seen their lead at the top of the Liga table cut to five points after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at Las Palmas. It was a tough evening for Barca who took the lead through a fabulous Lionel Messi free kick but saw a few decisions go against them, and Las Palmas equalise from the penalty spot.
Ernesto Valverde named a really strong team for this one and even included Luis Suarez despite the striker being at risk of a ban if he picked up a yellow card.
Suarez had a great chance to open the scoring after eight minutes when he and Messi were played clean through. Amazingly though, Messi somehow managed to underhit the pass and Suarez’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.
Barcelona did not have to wait long for the goal though, and won a free kick after Messi was fouled on the edge of the box. The little genius then got up and fired the free kick into the top corner to give Barca the lead.
There were few chances for the rest of the half, but there was controversy right on the stroke of half-time. Goalkeeper Leandro Chichizola came flying out of his box to clear a ball ahead of Suarez, and as he blocked the ball it rose up and hit his outstretched arm.
Barcelona screamed for the penalty and even Valverde came onto the pitch to remonstrate with referee Antonio Lahoz but he’d already blown for half-time and off they went.
The second half started in chaotic style with Las Palmas hitting the post and then the referee awarding a penalty, although nobody seemed to have any clue as to what for. Jonathan Calleri wasn’t fussed and simply stepped up and fired the spot kick into the roof of the net.
Valverde sent on Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic as he sought a winner but Barcelona found it tough going against Las Palmas and struggled to break down the hosts.
Ousmane Dembele also arrived but, Messi aside, it was a pretty subdued showing from the visitors who could not dominate the game as they usually do, and rarely tested Chichizola.
It’s a poor draw for Barcelona who failed to spark in attack as they had done against Girona last time out. The only good news is that Suarez came through the match unscathed and will be available for Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid.
Las Palmas: Chichizola; Aguirregaray, Ximo, Gálvez, D. Castellano (Michel); Halilović, Gómez (Aquilani), Etebo; Samperio, Calleri, Tana.
Goal: Calleri 48’
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Digne; Vidal (Coutinho), Paulinho, Busquets, Iniesta (Dembele); Messi, Suarez.
Goal: Messi 21’