Sevilla beat Villarreal 2-0 at the Sanchez-Pizjuan earlier in the evening, leapfrogging their opponents in the process and paving the way for the Blaugrana to prove their comeback isn’t simply another false dawn.
They couldn’t. Eibar were good value for their point, drawing 1-1 against a Lionel Messi-less Barcelona, with the Argentine sitting in the stands due to a knee injury.
If you filled the Camp Nou with every resident of Eibar, there'd still be 72,000 seats left over. Madness what they're doing in this game.
— Euan McTear (@emctear) December 29, 2020
“If I’m being realistic, winning La Liga will be very complicated,” he said. “Nothing is impossible, but you have to recognise the distance. Atletico [Madrid] seems to me to be very good, very strong. They don’t concede many goals.
“We deserved to win, we did what we had to do. They had only one shot on goal. We created chances but we didn’t score the penalty and we made defensive mistakes.
“We did well, worked hard and did enough to win, but we didn’t. This is happening a lot. In the first half-half, we had problems getting the ball from behind and we weren’t looking for people between the lines, maybe out of fear of playing higher. We played a match with many opportunities but didn’t make them concrete.
“I don’t want to say we lacked experienced players. The team is in transition, and there are also injuries. Today there was five or six youngsters in the team but there was also a lot of experience.
“We lacked Leo, who is the difference maker, but the feeling is we don’t understand how it’s possible we didn’t win. We created many opportunities, missed a penalty and gave away the goal, which was their only shot on goal.”
The hosts could have taken the lead inside the first ten minutes. Ronald Araujo was deemed to have been fouled in the box after a lengthly VAR review, with the referee awarding a penalty that Martin Braithwaite went on to miss, pulling wide left.
Shortly before the hour mark, Eibar struck first blood. Araujo, a very able performer for the Blaugrana so far this season, made an uncharacteristic error to allow Kike Garcia to pounce and coolly finish to send the Basques 1-0 up.
Barcelona equalised in the 67th minute. Junior Firpo, who did well to assist Braithwaite earlier in the evening only for the Dane’s effort to be ruled out for offside, repeated the trick with an accurate centre for Ousmane Dembele, who came on at half-time, to finish accurately.