Friday, March 2, 2018

Barcelona draw in Las Palmas throws La Liga title race open


Barcelona were on the end of a controversial decision away at Las Palmas to throw the Spanish league title wide open. Club legend, Lionel Messi scored a brilliant free kick to put the visitors ahead in the game but former West Ham striker, Jonathan Calleri’s strike from the penalty spot restored parity after the referee awarded a spot kick after the ball hit Lucas Digne’s arm. The former PSG man had the ball accidentally hit his arm, but the matchday official deemed the left back intentionally handling the ball.

Barcelona will feel hard done by referee, Antonio Mateu failing to send off goalkeeper, Leandro Chichizola after a handball outside the box, which means that the Sunday’s clash against Atletico Madrid holds a new level of importance for Ernesto Valverde’s team. The former Athletic Bilbao manager has helped Barcelona attain new heights and are currently unbeaten in the La Liga, and the draw means that their lead at the top of the table has been cut to just five points.

Messi seemed to have set Barca on course to restoring their advantage to seven ahead of this weekend's showdown at the Nou Camp but two decisions from referee Antonio Mateu helped Las Palmas snatch a point. After Calleri scored the equalizer, Barcelona tried to find the winner but Las Palmas stood resolute in front of a vociferous home crowd at the Estadio Gran Canaria. On came the extra firepower, as Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele replaced Aleix Vidal and Andres Iniesta but Barca rarely troubled in the latter stages as Las Palmas held on.

Up next for Barcelona is a top of the table clash against Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Meanwhile, Las Palmas are next in action on Monday away at Celta Vigo.

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