Lionel Messi broke a Spanish league record and scored on Sunday – but that was about all Barcelona had to celebrate when Cadiz, who were second division last season, lost points at home for the first time since 1978.
After Tuesday’s Champions League home game against Messi-free Paris Saint-Germain, Barca could have expected some relief at home for visitors who had spent 14 years outside the top division before they were promoted last summer.
Messi was faced with a team hovering three points above the relegation zone before kick-off and needed five minutes more than the 28 it took against Paris to reopen the standings with a cool penalty. He was preparing for a memorable afternoon when he broke his former teammate Xavi’s record of 505 league games.
But there was even more desperation when the fallen giants failed to build on their advantage and gave Cadiz the chance to end an undefeated season against Barcelona by scoring a point with their only chance at the game – a last-minute penalty.
Gary Lineker, ESPN, BR, GOAL, Squawka after Messi’s penalty against 15th place Cadiz: “End the GOAT debate now, he’s back” 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/me4p3DbEPN
– Bluto * x * (@ohhmydogg), February 21, 2021
Messi also extended his standings record against most top division clubs, beating the latest newcomers to ensure that he has gone online against a remarkable 38 opponents in the league.
That will not have been comforting as his side missed a chance to get three points closer to leaders Atletico Madrid, who are still eight points above them despite a surprise home loss to Levante on Saturday.
“It hurts a lot,” frustrated defender Gerard Pique told reporters afterwards. “This was a great opportunity to get closer in the table. I’m sad at the moment.”
Cadiz got their first point at Camp Nou since 1978. In a game with two penalties scored in both halves, Barça missed the chance to close the gap with Atleti – who lost his game yesterday! pic.twitter.com/HBAobhbMAw
– Leo Messi @ (@WeAreMessi) February 21, 2021
🇦🇷 Lionel Messi’s incredible performance against Cadiz; 🥅 8 shots 🎯 3 on the target ⚽️ 1 goal 👟 113 touches 🥇 87 passes 🏹 3 key passes ♂ 100% dribbling success … and then Cadiz equalizes with a penalty in the 89th minute 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/Ms6pAOAiqt
– 101 big goals (@ 101greatgoals) February 21, 2021
The influential Pique played after returning from injury earlier than expected after watching from the sideline as Barca were devastated by PSG in the last 16.
Co-defenders Jordi Alba were part of the 4-1 defeat and presented a “golden opportunity” after Barca’s second sad result of the week.
“There is no excuse,” he insisted. “That can no longer be allowed. It is our fault and we are the culprit.”
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