Barça drop points at home; Sevilla climb to 4th

Sports Desk, Dec 29 (EFE).- Barcelona bid farewell to 2020 on Tuesday with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Eibar, currently 15th in LaLiga.

While the visitors celebrated their best-ever result at Camp Nou, the Blaugrana were left to ponder how they have managed to drop 9 of 27 possible points at home less than halfway through the season.

The hosts were poised to take an early lead when VAR intervened in the 7th minute to award a penalty after an encounter in the box between Ronald Araujo and Eibar’s Pedro Bigas.

In the absence of the injured Lionel Messi, who was watching from the stands, Martin Braithwaite stepped the spot and fired wide of Marko Dmitrovic’s goal.

The Dane appeared to redeem himself in the 25th minute, knocking in Junior’s cross, but VAR detected that Braithwaite was offside and the goal was disallowed.

Eibar’s only threat of the opening 45 minutes was a strike from distance by Damian Kadzior that forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into action.

Antoine Griezmann fired wide in the 43rd minute and the sided went to the dressing rooms deadlocked 0-0.

Ousmane Dembele came on for Barça at the start of the second half and was quick to make an impact, narrowly missing with a shot in the 50th minute.

Dembele muffed a great opportunity two minutes later and Miralem Pjanic was off-target before Eibar took the lead in the 57th minute with a goal by Kike, who blasted the ball past Ter Stegen as the keeper came out to cut down the angle after a giveaway by Araujo.

The visitors’ joy lasted only until the 67th minute, when Dembele redirected Junior’s cross into the net to make it 1-1.

Late sub Francisco Trincao was poised to win it for the home side in stoppage time, but his shot went just outside the post and Barcelona are sixth in the table on 25 points.

Sevilla, meanwhile, vaulted into fourth place – the final Champions League berth – with a solid 2-0 victory over Villarreal, who suffered only their second league defeat of the season.

A hand ball by Juan Foyth set the stage for Lucas Ocampos to put Sevilla up in the 8th minute from the penalty spot.

Villarreal reacted with vigor and dominated the action for the rest of the first half, but failed to break through.

Eight minutes into the second half, Ocampos robbed a Villareal player in Sevilla territory and sent the ball forward to Youssef En-Nesyri, who made it 2-0 with his ninth goal of the campaign.

The result left Sevilla and Villarreal level on points at 26, but the Seville club have a better goal difference as well as two games in hand. EFE gmh-cc/dr

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