Ousmane Dembele called off Kike Garcia’s opener as Barcelona, who missed a penalty by Martin Braithwaite, were held by Eibar.
Barca had given Messi – who was watching from the stands – a break to treat an ankle injury, but the creativity and goal threat of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner were largely missed as the hosts lost points for the eighth time in 15 La Liga games. this season.
Martin Braithwaite was duly penalized for an early missed penalty – a third of the La Liga season for the Catalan giants – when Kike Garcia took full advantage of a Ronald Araujo mistake in the 57th minute.
Substitute Ousmane Dembele saved a draw for Barca 10 minutes later, despite being seven points behind the leaders Atletico Madrid despite having played two more games.
Barca squandered a golden opportunity to take an eighth-minute lead with Braithwaite trailing his wide kick after referee Javier Alberola Rojas used the field monitor to penalize Pedro Bigas for a foul on Araujo.
the Denmark international thought he had made amends shortly after the middle of the first half, but his cool cross-goal from Junior Firpo was ruled out by VAR for offside.
Antoine Griezmann then dismissed an effort from outside the penalty area as Barca entered the interval after having just one lone shot on target.
Dembele and Miralem Pjanic threw wide strikes early in the second half before the first was disallowed by Marko Dmitrovic after being played flawlessly.
The Frenchman was forced to pay for the shortfall when Kike picked Araujo’s pocket in Barca’s half and calmly passed Marc Ande ter Stegen for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Dembele got the upper hand over Dmitrovic in the 67th minute, shooting home at the back post after Junior’s cross broke through the face of the goal.
Francisco Trincao narrowly cut Dmitrovic’s right post in the stoppage time as Barca missed the opportunity to catch Atleti ahead of the leaders’ clash with Getafe Wednesday.