Messi Scores, But Barca Held To Home Draw After Controversial VAR Decision
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You can take Cristiano Ronaldo out of LaLiga, but you can’t take out the brilliant symmetry that’s conjoined the fortunes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since the day they were born. Days after Ronaldo saw red in the UCL, Messi’s Barcelona will have felt hard done by a red issued to defender Clement Lenglet — this one coming after the referee had gone to the monitor on the advice of the VAR (something still missing from the UCL).
Lenglet’s dismissal brought Barca down to 10-men for the final 55 minutes of the match, and although Messi had given the Blaugrana the early lead, a brace from Cristhian Stuani gave Girona a shock 2-1 lead inside the Camp Nou before Gerard Pique’s towering header salvaged a tie for the league leaders.
However, Barcelona’s lead on the top over Real Madrid is now only a matter of goal difference.
The opening 20 minutes amounted to the Messi show. The Argentine almost opened his account after working some space by taking the ball around five Girona defenders. However, his low drive was smartly saved by Bono.
That was insane from Messi pic.twitter.com/AkgmZPgDy8— Iniesta (@Donandresesque) September 23, 2018
But Messi would not be denied, and his opener arrived shortly after following a nice feed from Arturo Vidal.
— Media Cules Goal (@mediaculesgol09) September 23, 2018
With Messi in this sort of form, you’d have expected a Barcelona cakewalk, but 15 minutes after the opener, defender Clement Lenglet, making his LaLiga debut with the club following a summer move from Sevilla, was controversially sent off after the referee was told to take a second look at an elbow by the VAR.
Jesus Gil Manzano took a brief look at the monitor before issuing Lenglet his marching orders.
Que a mi alguien me diga que expulsar a alguien por esto es un robo, no me cabe en la cabeza.Soy del Barça. Me encanta Lenglet. Pero afortunadamente también nací con dos ojos. pic.twitter.com/gNzDnSgwtR
— Mr. Bojangles (@alfunks) September 23, 2018
Down to 10-men, any hopes of a brave resistance over the next 55 minutes were quashed when Cristhian Stuani scored Girona’s equalizer right before the break.
— FC BARCELONA (@GOLDELBARCAFR) September 23, 2018
Six minutes after the restart, Stuani’s brace put Girona up 2-1.
— SENTEAM221 (@senteam221) September 23, 2018
But 13 minutes after Stuani’s goal, Pique restored parity with a soaring header.
— Football World (@Footballworld78) September 23, 2018