FC Barcelona have only played 1-1 against relegation candidates Las Palmas just days before their direct encounter with Atletico Madrid. The phased rustic pace of the home side sat down to the Catalans. In addition, two disputed referee decisions were not in favor of the Blaugrana.

Atletico narrowed the seven-point deficit to four on Wednesday night, boosting pressure on Barcelona. The frontrunner started dominating at Las Palmas, who finished eighteenth in the Spanish league. With Ter Stegen in goal and Messi and Suarez in the front, Ernesto Valverde’s team set the tone. The hosts took the FCB, however, with rustic game and consistent two-man lead a lot of wind from the sails. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who should be in the focus several times in the game, showed only in the first 20 minutes four times yellow for the hosts.

Messi hits by free kick

Especially Messi, who had placed Suarez after nine minutes the first big chance, was again and again slowed down with borderline actions. This should have direct consequences: In the 21st minute, the Argentinian shot a free-kick with a lot of force directly into the upper left corner – 1: 0 for the guests!

Las Palmas was not shocked by the gap, but played courageously forward instead. Ex-Hamburger Halilovic (26th), Calleri (37th) and Etobo (41st) sniffed the equalizer. Barcelona presented itself in phases of amazing lethargy. If Las Palmas made space in the penalty area, the Valverde team could hardly get through – but had bad luck shortly before the break.
Two contentious referee decisions

Las Palmas keeper Chichizola stormed out of the box to take the ball from Suarez’s foot in front of the penalty area. Although the keeper caught the game device, but the ball threatened to jump back into the track of Suarez, so he played with his hand. Despite all the angry protests referee Lahoz whistled, however, not a handball, but to break.

Three minutes after the break, the match was played as the referee once again took center stage. After a corner kick for the hosts the ball was steered to the left post, from where he bounced back and touched Dignes outstretched hand from close range. Lahoz decided on a penalty – a controversial decision, the Calleri with a placed shot to 1: 1 used (48.).

Exciting final phase without goals

After that, Las Palmas pushed and countered with pinpricks without compulsory qualifications. Both sides came to good opportunities, Suarez had a double chance (63.), Tanas cross pass in the penalty area to the free teammate did not arrive (82).

The final phase and six-minute injury time was characterized by much drama. The Catalans, in which Coutinho, Dembelé and Rakitic came into play, pressed on the renewed leadership, found against low homeowners but no getting through. In the end, the bottom line was the fair division of points.

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