Barcelona's title hopes dented at Las Palmas

  • Barcelona's title hopes dented at Las Palmas

Barcelona's title hopes dented at Las Palmas

La Liga leaders Barca dropped points against relegation-threatened Las Palmas, who earned a 1-1 draw after Jonathan Calleri's penalty cancelled out Lionel Messi's 21st-minute opener.

Real Madrid go into their match at home to Getafe without Marcelo, Tony Kroos and Luka Modric and with one eye on their Champions League trip to Paris the following week, where they will defend a 3-1 first leg lead.

Messi seemed to have set Barca on course to restoring their advantage to seven ahead of this weekend's showdown at the Camp Nou but two decisions from referee Antonio Mateu helped lowly Las Palmas snatch a point.

It was the first penalty awarded against Barcelona in over two years - since a game against Celta Vigo on February 14, 2016 - but there was confusion as to why it was given.

Matias Aguirregaray and Sergi Roberto got tangled up as the Las Palmas defender directed a header against the Barca post from a corner.

"We don't know what the referee gave the penalty for", Valverde said in his postgame news conference. "Nobody knows in the dressing room".

The Catalans had little fortune with refereeing decisions and their players and coach Ernesto Valverde were furious when Las Palmas goalkeeper Leandro Chichizola was not punished for appearing to handle the ball outside of the area. "It was an invisible penalty".

"But we knew that it was a hard ground to come to, even though they're in the bottom three".

"The penalty came as a shock to us because of how it was awarded", said Valverde.

The France global hit a hat-trick against Sevilla on Sunday to move onto 99 strikes for Atletico, who sit second in the La Liga table behind leaders Barcelona. I have to be ambitious and I think we can do more with the ball. Geoffrey Kondogbia put Valencia ahead with a smart first half shot, but Oscar de Marcos equalized shortly after the break after Aritz Aduriz saw a first half penalty saved for the Basques. "We're in a privileged position in the league and we're going to try and maintain it with a victory on Sunday".