Valencia CF hold FC Barcelona after officials deny certain Lionel Messi goal

Jordi Alba scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw for FC Barcelona in the top-of-the-table clash against Valencia CF, but the match was marred by a hugely controversial decision to not allow a first-half Lionel Messi goal.

football Updated: Nov 27, 2017 08:40 IST
Associated Press, Madrid
Lionel Messi,Valencia CF,FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi was denied a goal during FC Barcelona’s La Liga match against FC Barcelona.(REUTERS)

After being denied a legitimate goal, Lionel Messi made sure nobody would keep FC Barcelona from mounting a comeback against Valencia CF.

Messi was deprived of a goal after a mistake by officials in the first half of the high-profile game between the Spanish league leaders on Sunday. But the FC Barcelona star made a perfect pass for Jordi Alba’s 82nd-minute equalizer to keep the Catalan club four points ahead of Valencia CF at the top of the Spanish league.

Rodrigo had put the hosts ahead from close range in the 60th in front of a raucous crowd at the Mestalla Stadium.

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Messi was sure he had opened the scoring in the 30th when Valencia CF goalkeeper Neto was unable to control the playmaker’s shot and let the ball slip between his legs, but the linesman did not see it cross the goal line.

“It was a clear mistake, I could see from midfield that it was a goal,” Alba said. “We saw it on television during halftime. It was not a foul or something like that, which can be a matter of interpretation. They have to see this.”

La Liga has been loudly criticized for not having video review assistance. It is expected to have a system in place next season.

FC Barcelona reached 35 points from 13 matches, eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, which both won on Saturday.

Valencia CF had won nine straight in all competitions, with its last setback a 1-1 draw at city rival Levante in September.

It was an even match at the packed Mestalla, with FC Barcelona playing better in the first half and the hosts threatening the most in the second.

“After the goal we had opportunities to put the game away, but in the end I think it was a fair result,” Rodrigo said.

Valencia CF went ahead after Jose Gaya made a run through the left side of the area and sent a low cross toward the center of the area for Rodrigo. He beat goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the ball and tapped it into the goal despite being closely marked by a defender.

Alba equalized with a left-footed shot into the far corner after Messi’s well-placed pass over the Valencia CF defenders.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 08:37 IST