Messi stood disappointedly at the serve point, when the Cadiz players were still celebrating the final equalizer.  Photo: Reuters.

Messi could not save Barca from the last minute victory


Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot but the defenders’ mistake caused Barca to draw Cadiz 1-1 in the 24th round of La Liga.

* Goal: Messi 32 ‘(pen) – Alex Fernandez 89’ (pen).

In the 88th minute, Barca led Cadiz 1-0. The teachers and students Ronald Koeman were very close to winning when the visitors could hardly attack. Near the end of the match, they just finished twice and never hit the target, while Barca 20 times threatened the goal.

The seemingly safe game did not help Barca win all three points, with a variable called Clement Lenglet. The French midfielder made a mistake with striker Cadiz in the penalty area, the ball was almost harmless and the referee decisively pointed to the penalty spot. There, Alex Fernandez beat goalkeeper Ter Stergen to equalize the team in the bottom half of the scoreboard.

The turning point at the end of the match made Barca unable to return, whether Gerard Pique or Martin Braithwaite had opportunities.

Messi stood disappointed at the serve point, when the Cadiz players also celebrated the final equalizer at the Camp Nou. Image: Reuters.

Barca played at home, was more appreciated, so he pressed Cadiz to the start. There was a time when the homeowner held the ball 75% and their 10 players all turned to the Cadiz field. The visitors were only able to bear the match with five defenders regularly standing in the penalty area to cover goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma.

After the missed opportunities of Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Messi, Barca finally found their way into the Cadiz goal. Young midfielder Pedri broke into the Cadiz penalty area, causing the opponent to make a foul. On the penalty spot, Messi distracted goalkeeper Ledesma to put the ball in the lower left corner, opening the score in the 32nd minute. In the rest of the first half, Barca continued to maintain the pressure but could not score more goals.

Messi scored and put Barca ahead.  Photo: Reuters.

Messi scored and put Barca ahead. Image: Reuters.

Barca continued to force the field in the second half, and Cadiz did not dare, or could not raise the squad. However, the pressure of the host is not large enough for Cadiz’s defense to make mistakes, while Messi or Dembele are not sharp enough to concretize the chances of goal. Messi personally finished eight times, equal to nearly half of Barca’s finish, but only scored one goal thanks to the penalty.

66 minutes, Dembele speed ball on the right wing, over the visitors’ defender and face the keeper, but shot out quite infinitely, to the point that coach Koeman had to indignation outside the technical area. In the 73rd minute, Pedri ran the ball over the Cadiz defense to create conditions for Messi, but the 33-year-old striker’s shot in the non-dominant foot sent the ball over the bar. Griezmann also almost scored, if goalkeeper Ledesma could not block Messi’s cross.

Lenglet (middle) tried to stop Cadiz's ball down.  Photo: Reuters.

Lenglet (middle) tried to stop Cadiz’s ball down. Image: Reuters.

When the attackers did not do enough, Barca’s defense “broke”, leading to the loss from the penalty spot after a foul by Lenglet. In the middle of the week, the 25-year-old midfielder played very badly in a crushing 1-4 defeat to PSG, when he was repeatedly surpassed by rival strikers. Before Cadiz, Lenglet did not face too much pressure but made a elementary mistake.

Bitter draw caused Barca to break the circuit of eight wins in La Liga. However, one point also helped Koeman teachers and students temporarily narrow the gap with the top team Atletico to eight points, when the two teams played 23 games together.

In the middle of next week, on February 24, Barca will host Elche.

Squad

Barca (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Alba, Pique, Dest (Mingueza 80 ‘); Busquets (Pjanic 65 ‘), De Jong, Pedri (Trincao 74’); Griezmann (Braithwaite 65 ‘), Messi, Dembélé (Puig 80’).

Cadiz (4-4-2): Ledesma; Espino, Fali, Mauro, Carcelén; Jairo (Alex Fernandez 59 ‘), Perea (Joensson 76’), Ander (Jose Mari 58 ‘), Salvi (Alejo 62’); Sobrino, Negredo (Lozano 59 ‘).

* Results – La Liga schedule
* La Liga scoreboard

Kim Hoa

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