Barcelona maintained their four point lead at the top of La Liga tonight, as they played to a 1-1 draw with their nearest rivals Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium. However, the Catalan giants will feel unlucky to be returning home without all three points after a refereeing error cost them a clear goal in the first half.
The controversy occurred at the half hour mark, when Valencia’s keeper Neto somehow allowed a rather rare poor effort from Lionel Messi to get the better of him. The Brazilian got his hands to the Argentine’s strike, but he forced the ball downward into the turf and between his legs. The 28-year-old turned around and dove backward to swat the ball away, but it had clearly crossed the goal-line before he got a hand to it.
The referee and his assistants, however, waved for play to continue.
Barcelona are furious 😡
They should have been given a clear goal with the ball well over the line!
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) November 26, 2017
Valencia officially opened the scoring on the hour mark, as Rodrigo turned a low cross from Jose Luis Gaya in from a couple of yards out, but Barcelona hauled themselves back to level terms late on – a predictable moment of Messi magic setting up a Jordi Alba goal in the 82nd minute.
Barcelona now sit on 35 points, 4 points ahead of Valencia and 8 points ahead of the Madrid sides, Atletico and Real. All of the top four teams have played 13 games so far this season.