Barca Nepal, March 2. A strong defensive performance from Las Palmas held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw on Thursday night at the Estadio Gran Canaria in Las Palmas.A wonderfully struck free-kick struck by Lionel Messi had Barcelona ahead at half-time, but the Pio Pio clawed back to equalise early in the second-half when Jonathan Calleri calmly converted a penalty kick.
The result leaves Barcelona just five points up on second-place Atletico Madrid, with the two sides set to meet on Sunday at the Camp Nou.
Known more for their aggressive, attacking style, Las Palmas delivered as good of a defensive display as a side can have against Barcelona, led by the likes of Matias Aguirregaray, Ximo and the non-stop running of Etebo.
Ernesto Valverde rolled the dice in slotting Luis Suarez into his starting XI, putting the Uruguayan at risk of missing Sunday’s key clash for Atletico Madrid if he were to receive a yellow card. Usual starters centre-back Gerard Pique, full-back Jordi Alba and midfielder Ivan Rakitc were rested, meaning Thomas Vermaelen, Lucas Digne and Aleix Vidal all got nods.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6
The German stopper had no chance of saving Jonathan Calleri’s rocket of a penalty.
Sergi Roberto 5
Limited impact going forward from the Catalan, who suffered at the back too.
Samuel Umtiti 6
Lately Umtiti’s form has been shaky, after a few months of playing at an extremely high level. Still had some quality moments.
Thomas Vermaelen 6
Lucky not to be booked—Lahoz showed the card to Umtiti instead—but was otherwise solid.
Lucas Digne 5
The French left-back conceded a harsh penalty for hand-ball but offered nothing going forward, with Jordi Alba suspended.
Sergio Busquéts 6
A couple of uncharacteristically poor passes in the first half but pulled his socks up subsequently.
Reports he has a foot injury seem increasingly on the mark, after another pale display in midfield.
Andres Iniesta 5
The captain was not up to scratch here despite being rested last weekend. Invisible.
Aleix Vidal 6
Made up what he lacks in quality with energy, but ultimately is not a player that can ever hold down a place in this side.
Lionel Messi 7
cored a brilliant free-kick and four Las Palmas players went into the book for fouls on him.
Luis Suarez 6
Kept a lid on all bad behaviour and protests so as to avoid suspension against Atletico, but was below his best.