La Liga, Villamarin – Real Betis 1 (Alegria 74′) Barcelona 1 (Suarez 90′).
Luis Suarez grabbed a late equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw for Barcelona at Real Betis, but will reflect on missed opportunities and the referee’s failure to spot a ‘ghost goal’.
he away side should have equalised moments after Alex Alegria’s opener for Betis, with a goalmouth scramble resulting in the ball being bundled over the line. But the officials failed to spot it, prompting fresh debate about the lack of goal-line technology in Spanish football.
Real Betis will feel aggrieved that they didn’t claim all three points, taking into account how they dominated the majority of the contest, but Suarez’s 90th-minute goal, sliding home a finish after a through ball by Lionel Messi, was enough to give Barca a point.
A win would have put Luis Enrique’s side top of the table until later this evening, when Real Madrid face Real Sociedad, but instead they will now ask questions of the officiating in Spain’s top flight, not for the first time this season.
TALKING POINT – When will La Liga install goal-line technology?
When it comes to the Spanish title race two points can certainly make all the difference. Barcelona were robbed of that by the referee’s failure to spot a clear goal, meaning they have more ground to make up on Real Madrid at the top of the table. But the referee and linesmen don’t deserve all the blame. Why, in 2017, doesn’t La Liga have goal-line technology? There is no case for the defence.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Dani Ceballos
The midfielder has yet to score a single Liga goal this season, but he was a threat throughout for Real Betis. This was surely the performance of Dani Ceballos’ young career, underlining the progress he has made over the past few weeks and months. He has been so impressive, some are even tipping him for a call-up to the Spanish national team.
Real Betis – Adan 7, Piccini 6, Pezzella 6, Mandi 7, Tosca 6, Durmisi 8, Petros 6, Pardo 7, Ceballos 9, Alegria 7, Castro 7. Subs – Navarro 5, Donk 6, Nahuel 5
Barcelona – Ter Stegen 5, Vidal 5, Pique 5, Mathieu 5, Digne 6, Rakitic 5, Denis 5, Arda 6, Messi 5, Suarez 7, Neymar 5. Subs – Gomes 5, Roberto 5, Alba 6.
73’ OFF THE BAR! That’s the closest we have come to a goal this afternoon. Ceballos takes aim from the best part of 25 yards, beating Ter Stegen with his striker, but not the crossbar.
74’ NOW OFF THE POST! Real Betis are really applying the pressure now. Castro gets the beating of Pique, angling a low shot towards goal, but his effort comes back off the base of the post.
75’ GOAL! Real Betis 1-0 Barcelona: That goal had been coming and the home side have the lead! A corner kick caused mayhem in the penalty area and Alegria squeezed home a finish at the near post.
77’ THAT WAS OVER THE LINE! Barcelona should be level. There was a scramble in the Real Betis box and a shot forced towards the goal. It was cleared but replays show it was over the line.
78’ ANOTHER GOAL-LINE CLEARANCE! This is incredible! Barcelona come within inches of equalising, but Mandi makes the clearance. This time replays show it wasn’t over the line.
80’ CASTRO WAS CLEAN THROUGH! The veteran striker was released clean through on goal, but he almost had too much time and Ter Stegen comes off his line to make the save.
90’ GOAL! Real Betis 1-1 Barcelona: Suarez comes up with a late, late equaliser! The striker was slipped in on goal by Messi and he made absolutely no mistake in finding the back of the net with a low finish.
Luis Suarez’s goal moved him to the top of the Pichichi standings, with 16 goals so far this season.
Before today Barcelona had won their last seven meetings against Real Betis.
Seven of Barcelona’s last nine Liga matches have been goalless at half time.