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Controversy at Las Palmas - were Barcelona robbed?

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FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Barcelona dropped points on Thursday night as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Las Palmas as Jonathan Calleri’s penalty rescued a point after Lionel Messi has opened the scoring.

However, the game was not without controversy. Las Palmas goalkeeper Leandro Chichizola appeared to handle the ball outside the box, the hosts’ penalty was unclear and Alejandro Gálvez was perhaps lucky to escape a red after bringing down Messi.

Let’s have a closer look at all three incidents.

Chichizola handball

The first incident of the match is probably the clearest. The ball clearly hits Chichizola’s hand, but is it intentional?

The goalkeeper came charging out of his box, and he really had to, as Luis Suarez had been sent clean through.

He tried to block the ball, but it flicked up and hit his outstretched arm. It looked a clear handball, the referee said no and Ernesto Valverde’s reaction suggested he thought it was handball too.

If the referee has given handball, Chichizola would have been sent off, Las Palmas down to 10 and although it’s impossible to say, Barcelona may well have gone on to win. A massive call from the referee.

Las Palmas win controversial penalty

Barcelona conceded their first penalty in 79 La Liga games at Las Palmas, but still it’s not completely clear what it was given for. The most likely explanation is that it was awarded for Sergio Roberto’s tangle at the near post. Or maybe it was for Lucas Digne’s handball as the ball came back off the post?

Even the replays weren’t clear after a bizarre sequence of events that also saw Thomas Vermaelen lying prone on the turf appealing for a decision.

The Barcelona players’ reaction was revealing, they all looked genuinely baffled, so did Las Palmas but they gratefully accepted the gift from the referee. Curious.

Should Galvez have seen red?

Lionel Messi was once again Barcelona’s best player, he scored their only goal and was the only player to truly look a threat.

Time and time again, he surged towards the penalty area and was fouled. In the second half Alejandro Gálvez brought him down with a poor tackle from behind. It looked a red.

However, only a yellow was given. There were still 20 minutes to play and if Galvez had gone Barcelona would have had a big advantage for the final section of the game.

Three big decisions, two points dropped, a very frustrating evening for Barcelona and definitely not the ideal preparation for Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid.