Barcelona have struggled for form in the Spanish La Ligathis season and that continued into their latest league outing, an home clash with Eibar at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night. Barcelona were only able to secure an uninspiring draw against lowly Eibar as they failed to close the gap on the top two teams on the La Liga table. The Nou Camp giants were without talismanic player Lionel Messi for the week 16 league meeting with Eibar and his absence was felt as the other players failed to step up for the team.
Ahead of the game, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman told reporters that Messi will miss the game because of a small injury problem. The said injury kept him out of the Eibar game though he’s likely to return to the team for the league trip to Huesca at the weekend. Without Messi, Barcelona lacked the required cutting edge in front of goaland this was evident when the team was awarded a first half penalty. Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi is the usual penalty taker but his absence meant that another player had to step up. Danish international Martin Braithwaite stepped up in the absence of Messi but he could not convert the spot kick.
Martin Braithwaite and Barcelona paid the price for that first half penalty miss after Eibar took the lead on 57 minutes of the matchday 16 league clash. The lead lasted for just ten minutes before second half substitute OusmaneDembele scored the equaliser for the hosts. Frenchman Dembele had come on for American fullback SerginoDest at the start of the second half. Barcelona were unable to build on the equaliser which came midway into the second half as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw. The result meant that Barcelona drop from fifth to sixth spot on the league standings after Sevilla leapfrogged them on the table courtesy their 2-0 home victory over Villarreal. Lucas Ocampos (penalty) and Youssef En-Nesyri scored for Sevilla either side of the halftime break.