Barcelona’s title hopes were dented as they drew 1-1 at Real Betis on Sunday in a game shrouded in controversy after the champions were denied a goal despite the ball clearly crossing the line.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) January 29, 2017
Alex Alegria gave Betis a deserved lead in the 75th minute after the home side had hit the woodwork twice in quick succession although Luis Suarez salvaged a point by arrowing home Lionel Messi’s through ball in the 90th.
Before the equaliser Barca were incensed when a cross from Aleix Vidal was deflected towards goal and appeared to cross the line by around a metre before Aissa Mandi scrambled the ball away. Unlike in the Premier League, there is no goalline technology in La Liga.
Vidal also had a shot cleared away in the goalmouth moments later.
Betis striker Ruben Castro missed a gilt-edged chance to seal an unlikely win but failed to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen after racing through on goal unchallenged.
There was no time after Suarez’s leveller for the champions to find a winner, with the draw halting their five-game winning streak in all competitions.
Barca are second in the standings, one point behind Real Madrid who have two games in hand, and level on points with Sevilla, who can go three clear of Luis Enrique’s side when they visit Espanyol later on Sunday.
Real Madrid host Real Sociedad later on Sunday looking for a response having been knocked out of the King’s Cup by Celta Vigo on Wednesday.