Lionel Messi has marked his club record 506th Spanish league appearance for Barcelona with a goal – but there were few celebrations after the Catalan giants slipped up with a 1-1 draw with Cadiz.
The visitors snatched a late penalty at the Nou Camp on Sunday to deal Barca another setback in their bid for the Spanish league title at the end of a difficult week for Messi and his team.
Five days after being beaten 4-1 by Paris St Germain in the Champions League, Ronald Koeman’s side saw two points slip away when substitute Alex Fernandez converted an 88th-minute penalty conceded by Clement Lenglet.
Yet after Messi had scored from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute, it seemed as if they would stroll to victory. Instead, they were unable to finish off their many scoring chances.
The draw now leaves Barcelona in third place, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who lost 2-0 to Levante on Saturday.
Real Madrid were the biggest beneficiaries of the round, moving three points behind Atletico after winning 1-0 at Valladolid on Saturday. Madrid have played one more match than Atletico and Barcelona.
“These are two hard blows this week,” Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said.
“There is a way to go in the league, but we didn’t count on this. If we can get on a good run of play and get good results, we can still have a shot. It is going to be difficult.”
Cadiz, who came up from the second division this season, upset Barcelona 2-1 in early December when Koeman’s side were still finding their way under the new coach.
Since then, they haven’t lost in the league and were on a seven-game winning streak going into the Cadiz game.
Barcelona had 80% of possession and out-shot Cadiz 20-3 but a clumsy foul by Lenglet, kicking Ruben Sobrino in the leg while trying to clear a ball on the edge of the area, ruined a strong performance.
It was Cadiz’s first point earned at the Nou Camp since 1978.