Barcelona wasted a giant opportunity to make a statement in the La Liga title race thanks to a 1-1 draw against relegation candidates Cádiz at Camp Nou. Barça played well the entire game and created enough chances to win easily, but could only find the back of the net once and conceded a bad goal thanks to a silly penalty given away by Clément Lenglet at the death.
Cádiz came out in a 4-5-1 formation and parked the bus from the opening second, so Barça knew they needed to be patient, creative and sharp to break that type of defense down. They were neither of those things early on, with misplaced passes, players not making enough runs in behind and a lack of conviction in the final ball.
But as time went on the Blaugrana improved and looked more dangerous, and the right side quartet of Sergiño Dest, Ousmane Dembélé, Frenkie De Jong and Lionel Messi started causing real problems and the chances started coming. Eventually the Blaugrana earned a penalty when Pedri was tackled in the box, and Messi scored with ease to give the home team the lead.
Barça kept attacking after the opening goal and should have added two more through De Jong and Pedri, but the goals were called off for offside including a bizarre moment when Antoine Griezmann got in the way of a De Jong shot that was on its way to the back of the net, which then made Dest offside when he assisted Pedri.
Cádiz had one chance which came straight after they conceded, but Ruben Sobrino missed a tap-in in front of goal. At halftime, Barça were dominant and looked good in the final 20 minutes of the half, and they were look to keep up that momentum and stretch the lead in the second half.
Cádiz didn’t change their plan for the second half and continued defending deep hoping to stop Barça from scoring and maybe getting a chance to equalize late. Barça played better and created even more chances, with three big ones somehow not being scored by Messi, Dembélé and Griezmann.
Substitute Riqui Puig almost scored a gorgeous goal with five minutes to go, but Barça somehow could not extend their lead and finally paid for it: Lenglet committed a stupid penalty by kicking Ruben Sobrino’s leg inside the box, and Álex Fernández stepped up with confidence and buried the spot kick to make it 1-1.
Barça had five minutes of stoppage time to try and find the winner, but Cádiz defended for their lives and celebrated what felt like a win for them when the final whistle was blown. Someway, somehow, Barça have not won despite creating many clear chances throughout the match. They did not deserve to drop points, but they couldn’t finish their chances and Lenglet once again made a bad error.
The unbeaten run is now extended to 13 games, but this should have been eight wins in a row to really put pressure on Atlético. They couldn’t do it, and it doesn’t look like Barça will fight for the title this season.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza 80’), Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets (Pjanic 64’), Pedri (Trincão 74’); Dembélé (Puig 80’), Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 64’)
Goal: Messi (pen 32’)
Cádiz: Ledesma; Carcelén, Fali, Mauro, Espino; Sánchez (Alejo 62’), Sobrino, Garrido (Mari 59’), Perea (Jonsson 76’), Izquierdo (Fernández 59’); Negredo (Lozano 59’)
Goal: Fernández (pen 89’)