Barcelona‘s title chances suffered another dent after a 1-1 draw with Eibar in a La Liga clash at Camp Nou on Tuesday as Lionel Messi, who is recovering from an ankle injury, watched from the stands. This was the eighth time in 15 matches this season that the Catalan giants failed to win, leaving them sixth in the latest league standings. Also Read - Lionel Messi Transfer News Update: PSG Confirm Interest in Barcelona Skipper With Contract Ending Soon
Eibar went ahead in the 57th minute via Kike Garcia after the first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Barcelona were quick to respond though with Osumane Dembele equalising 10 minutes later and thus salvaging a point for his team. Also Read - Lionel Messi Ban: Barcelona Star Could be Suspended For 12 Games Following Red-Card in Spanish Super Cup Final
However, it was the hosts who could have taken the lead as early as the eighth minute when referee awarded them a spot-kick penalising Pedro Bigas for a foul on Araujo. However, Martin Brathwaite missed the opportunity, sending his shot wide. Also Read - Lionel Messi Could Face Ban After First Red Card in Club Football Career For Barcelona
Brathwaite then seemed to have given them the lead later in the first half only for the VAR to rule it as offside.
In another setback for Barca, Phil Coutinho hobbled off the field in the injury time with a suspected knee issue and since they had made all their five substitutes, were left to play with 10 men.
Manager Ronald Koeman admitted the road towards securing La Liga title has become tougher for his team now.
“I am realistic, it will be very difficult to be champions,” Koeman said after the match. “Nothing is impossible, but you have to acknowledge the gap. Atletico look very good to me, very strong, they don’t concede many goals.”
While the Dutchman said his team could have easily won the game, they did feel Messi’s absence.
“You cannot say Barca play better without Messi. He is a different player,” Koeman said.
“In general terms we played well. But individual errors cost us the points. We deserved to win, we did what was needed. [Eibar] only had one shot on goal. We created chances, but we didn’t score the penalty and then a defensive error… we played well, we worked hard and did enough to win, but this is happening to us far too often,” he added.