Barcelona held at home by Eibar as Martin Braithwaite misses penalty | La Liga


Barcelona suffered in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi, drawing 1-1 at home to struggling Eibar in La Liga as Martin Braithwaite missed a penalty for the hosts.

Eibar took a shock lead in the 57th minute when striker Kike García pounced on a glaring defensive error from young Barça defender Ronald Araújo. Substitute Ousmane Dembélé got the equaliser 10 minutes later, but the hosts could not find a winner.

Messi flew back from Argentina earlier on Tuesday but had to watch from the stands at Camp Nou as he is still recovering from an ankle problem. While his side played well in spells without him, they lacked the cutting edge he so often provides.

The most glaring example came just eight minutes in, when the VAR awarded Barça a penalty for a foul on Araújo. Braithwaite stepped up in Messi’s absence but fired wide. The Danish forward thought he had atoned with a goal 20 minutes later, but that was disallowed for offside.

Lionel Messi (centre) watches on from the stands.
Lionel Messi (centre) watches on from the stands. Photograph: Joan Monfort/AP

The Catalans dominated the first half but wasted chances in front of goal and were punished in the second half after a lapse of concentration from Araújo. The Uruguayan centre-back was mugged near the halfway line by Kike, who raced towards goal and kept his cool to beat keeper Marc-André ter Stegen.

Dembélé levelled 10 minutes later, firing into the far corner with a first-time finish after a cut-back from Junior Firpo to complete an excellent team move. Braithwaite missed the best chance for either side to win the match, the ball bouncing off his chest on the rebound and squirming wide.

The draw leaves Barça sixth in the standings on 25 points, seven behind league leaders Atlético Madrid who have two games in hand.

The 21-year-old Araujo took full responsibility for his error. “It’s a mistake from me, one I can’t afford to make,” he told reporters. “It was a lack of concentration from me … I’m old enough to know how big a responsibility it is to play for Barcelona.”

Elsewhere, Sevilla beat Villarreal 2-0 at home to leapfrog their opponents and climb into fourth place. Lucas Ocampos’s early penalty put Julen Lopetegui’s side ahead, with Youssef En-Nesyri’s second-half goal securing the three points.


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