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Controversial Messi Penalty Gives Barcelona Win Against Real Sociedad

Barcelona’s Argentine ahead Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a objective in the course of the Spanish league soccer match between FC Barcelona and Actual Sociedad on the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 7, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Barcelona wanted a doubtful late penalty given by VAR and transformed by Lionel Messi to scrape previous Actual Sociedad 1-Zero on Saturday and keep away from one other slip-up in La Liga’s title race. 

Messi’s 24th objective of the season, and fifth in 4 video games, was sufficient to avoid wasting Barca, regardless of a colorless show that threatened to deliver extra disappointment following final weekend’s loss in opposition to Actual Madrid.

Madrid drop to second within the desk however can restore their one-point benefit on the prime by profitable away at struggling Actual Betis on Sunday evening.

Their Clasico victory on the Santiago Bernabeu put the strain again on Barcelona, whose response was hardly resounding, with Quique Setien’s aspect in the end reliant on VAR to identify a handball within the 81st minute from Robin Le Normand.

The dearth of attraction from Barca’s gamers and the chunk of play that handed earlier than VAR intervened made the choice all of the extra shocking and la Actual’s gamers had been nonetheless shaking their heads on the closing whistle.

But the win was all-important for the Catalans on the finish of one other week dominated by headlines surrounding issues off the pitch.

Setien stated he had apologised to the squad after his assistant Eder Sarabia was proven to have launched into quite a lot of foul-mouthed rants in opposition to the gamers in the course of the sport in opposition to Madrid, even when there have been chants in assist of Sarabia earlier than kick-off.

Barcelona created a handful of openings in the course of the first half and Martin Braithwaite, making his first begin, was on the coronary heart of most of them, along with his willingness to run in behind providing a great various in assault.

Twice Messi despatched Braithwaite free early on however his lung-busting runs resulted in tame photographs, even when they had been nonetheless vastly appreciated by an encouraging residence crowd. When he did hit one into the web, he was pulled again for offside.

Messi created an opportunity of his personal by looking the ball down within the nook earlier than retrieving a chipped Sergio Busquets move excessive solely to scuff the end.

The possibilities got here extra often within the second half as Barca turned the screw. Messi slid one previous the publish after which sliced one other over from Antoine Griezmann’s cushioned header.

Ivan Rakitic’s drive was parried, Gerard Pique’s header too straight and Jordi Alba’s ball throughout the face of objective simply too far forward of the diving Rakitic.

As possibilities went begging, la Actual sensed a possibility. Nacho Monreal flashed extensive and Alexander Isak hammered over.

However simply as the strain was rising, Barcelona had been leant a serving to hand, with VAR reviewing a handball from Le Normand and referee Martinez Munera persuaded to award the penalty. Messi made no mistake.

Atletico Madrid will hope for a tighter contest in opposition to Liverpool within the Champions League on Wednesday than their frantic 2-2 draw in opposition to Sevilla earlier on Saturday.

Joao Felix appeared as sharp on the Wanda Metropolitano as he has accomplished all season and accomplished a four-minute comeback for Atletico after Alvaro Morata’s penalty cancelled out Luuk de Jong’s opener for Sevilla.

However Lucas Ocampos levelled with one other penalty on the finish of a pulsating first half, once more with the assistance of VAR after a foul by Kieran Trippier, whose involvement at Anfield on Wednesday might be doubtful.

Trippier took therapy after a heavy problem from Nemanja Gudelj within the second half though the defender was capable of end the sport and coach Diego Simeone insisted afterwards the issue was cramp.

The draw might be extra gratefully acquired by Sevilla, who sit third in La Liga and two factors forward of Atletico, who keep fifth after lacking a possibility to shut the hole.

 

AFP

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