Barcelona fightback against Eibar not enough to deny Madrid
Liga, Camp Nou – Barcelona 4 (Juncà 63'(o.g.), Suárez 73, Messi 75'(p.), 90+2) Eibar 2 (Inui7, 61)
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) and Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) gesture during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs SD Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on May 21, 2017.
Barcelona came back from two goals down to beat Eibar in a thrilling match, but Real Madrid's win at Malaga means they must relinquish their La Liga title to their bitter rivals.
Perhaps hearing that Madrid had taken the lead early, Barca did not get play properly in the opening period and were behind after seven minutes, thanks to Takeshi Inui's thumping finish. They did, though, still manage to construct some excellent scoring opportunities, the best of which was put wide by Luis Suarez, though Ruben Pena missed an even better chance on the stroke of half-time; the feeling was always that Barca would need more than two goals.
And so it proved. Another belter from Inui doubled Eibar's advantage, but shortly afterwards an own-goal from David Junca ushered Barca back into the game. As the pressure mounted, the referee awarded a penalty for a non-existent foul on Jordi Alba - Yoel Rodriguez saved brilliantly from Lionel Messi - but then Suarez pulled one back on 74 minutes, Messi scored a penalty on 76, and with Ander Capa shown a second yellow card for his involvement, that was that - save Messi's obligatory wonder goal just before time.
Where do Barca go from here? They need a new manager, they need at least one new midfielder, probably a centre-back and maybe a right-back too, plus some proper attacking strength in depth. That does not sound like a summer's work, and yet it must be, because that is all they have. On the other hand, Neymar is improving and Messi is still Messi, so even if they do nothing they will still be a threat to any other team.
Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar at Camp Nou Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain
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MAN OF THE MATCH
Yoel Rodriguez (Eibar): Made a string of outstanding saves, including one from a penalty, and generally did everything he could possibly have done to help his team.
7’ - GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Eibar (Inui) What a finish this is! Dani Garcia's long, raking cross from the right finds Inui on the far side of the box - Sergi Roberto is all over the show - and he caresses a half-volley into the roof of the net via the underside of the bar.
9’ - WHAT A MISS! Arbilla's lax backpass sends Suarez through the middle, and he draws the keeper. Really, he could do anything, but opts for a difficult finish, using the outside of his right boot, and sending the ball past the post! What was he thinking?!
45’ - THAT IS ONE OF THE BEST MISSES I'VE EVER SEEN! Inui cuts inside onto his right foot and curls a shot towards the far corner. Ter Stegen gets down to it, but can only palm the ball back into play, directly to the feet of Pena! somehow, from three yards, he sidefoots wide! It's amazing!
56’ - WHAT ANOTHER MISS! Iniesta sends Suarez through the middle and he should just stick it away, but instead squares to Messi, who comes inside onto his right foot, taking the ball too close to keeper and defender before tapping wide! Oh I say!
61’ - WHAT A GOAL! Barcelona 0-2 Eibar (Inui) Kike does well down the right and clips back a cross that Enrich moves on to Inui. The ball bounces once, twice, and then he spanks a fantastic shot in off the bar! Another brilliant finish!
65’ - GOAL! Barcelona 1-2 Eubar (Junca, o.g.) Nice from Messi, driving at the heart of the Eibar defence, drawing men to him and flicking wide to Neymar. He laces a low shot off the base of the post and Junca can't sort his feet out to clear, instead ineptly deflecting into the open net. "There was nothing he could do," says Gerry Armstrong. No, nothing whatsoever.
69’ - PENALTY FOR BARCA! WHAT ON EARTH! Alba cuts inside, falls over with no one near him, and the ref points to the spot!
70' - SAVED! Messi's penalty is saved.
74’ - GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Eibar (Suarez) Barca win a corner down the left and it's hit perfectly flat and hard to the near post. So Alcacer flicks on and Suarez poaches it home at the back post.
76’ - GOAL! Barcelona 3-2 Eibar (Messi pen) Messi wallops his kick again, again to the keeper's left, and again he gets a touch, but this time it's closer to the corner and Yoel can't keep it out.
90+2’ - SUAREZ MISSES ANOTHER! Sent clear through the middle yet again, he has so much time, but looks to slot to Yoel's left - it's a little lackadaisical, really - but another fine save.
90+2' - WHAT A GOAL! Barcelona 4-2 Eibar (Messi) Messi takes the ball on halfway, motors forward, ducks inside his man, skirts around three more, and drives a low shot to Yoel's right. For most, that's the best goal they've ever scored; for Messi, it's not even top 30.
Luis Suarez et Lionel Messi
Image credit: Getty Images
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