Barcelona 1-1 Cadiz Cadiz netted late penalty to steal point
Barcelona‘s hopes of climbing back into the LaLiga title race took a big hit by conceding a late penalty in a 1-1 draw against Cadiz on Sunday afternoon at the Camp Nou.
Still reeling from their midweek Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi converted from the spot to hand the Catalans a first-half lead, but their lack of a sharpness and wastefulness in the Cadiz half opened the door for the late equaliser for the Andalusians. By failing to take advantage of Atletico’s Saturday stumble against Levante, Barcelona now sit eight points behind in the table.
Ronald Koeman made the interesting decision to repeat the same starting XI that got blitzed by the Parisians, meaning the likes of right-back Sergino Dest and centre-back Gerard Pique were back after getting exposed by Kylian Mbappe.
Barcelona unsurprisingly started off by poking and prodding against Cadiz’s bunkered-in defence, and it took a surgical pass from Sergio Busquets into Messi to yield the first chance of the day, with the Argentine missing wide against oncoming Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma.
Messi’s fellow Rosario native Ledesma was called on to make his first big save of the day with a stretch save against his countryman, but moments later he could do nothing to stop Messi from calmly converting from the penalty spot for a 1-0 Barcelona lead after Pedri was brought down inside the area.
Cadiz nearly answered immediately after the Messi counter, as a Barcelona giveaway led to a quick break and a gilt-edged chance for Ruben Sobrino, who was on the end of a deflected header that hit his stomach and spun wide.
Barcelona could have done with a more selfish attitude from Messi to start the second half after the 33-year-old was played in beautifully by Busquets, but instead he crossed for Antoine Griezmann, whose close-range effort was blocked by Ledesma.
Ousmane Dembele enjoyed his first chances of the day with a great solo run into the Cadiz area that ended with a blocked shot, followed by a stinging right-footer that sailed wide.
Griezmann and Busquets were the first two played to be substituted off by Koeman, as Martin Braithwaite and Miralem Pjanic entered the fray, followed shortly by Francisco Trincao coming on for Pedri.
None of the changes made too much of an impact, but with Cadiz still sitting deep in their own area, Barcelona had little to worry about in the back and they were content to stick to their plodding approach in the Cadiz half.
Koeman made his last two changes with 10 minutes to go, with Riqui Puig replacing Dembele and Oscar Mingueza coming on for Dest, but finally Cadiz began to venture forward in the final minutes and started causing danger in the Barcelona half.
Their efforts would pay off when Clement Lenglet clumsily fouled Sobrino in the area, resulting in a late penalty that Alex Fernandez swept home to leave Barcelona shaking their heads in dismay at the 1-1 draw.
1.- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza, min. 80), Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets (Pjanic, min. 65), De Jong, Pedri (Trincao, min. 74); Dembele (Riqui Puig, min. 80), Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite, min. 65).
1.- Cadiz: Ledesma; Iza (Alex, min. 59), Marcos Mauro, Fali, Espino; Salvi (Alejo, min. 63), Garrido (Jose Mari, min. 58), Jairo, Perea (Jonsson, min. 76); Negredo (Lozano, min. 59), Sobrino.
Goals: 1-0, min. 32: Messi (p); 1-1, min. 89: Alex Fernandez (p).
Referee: Martinez Munuera (Valencian).
Yellow cards: Alejo (Min. 82) for Cadiz, Jose Mari (Min. 85) for Cadiz.
Red cards: None.
Stadium: Camp Nou.