He Barcelona dismissed his ‘annus horribilis’ by offering his less reliable version to give up another draw at the Camp Nou (1-1), where this season already has lost 9 points out of 27 possible in LaLiga.
This time, the team that got oil from the bad moment of the Catalan team was Eibar, which thanks to a great first half managed to score at the Barça stadium for the first time in its history.
And that the game could start frankly for Barça, because the referee, after consulting VAR, whistled a penalty from Bigas on Araujo at 7 minutes. But, with the injured Messi in the stands, Braithwaite assumed responsibility from eleven meters and shot wide to the right of Dmitrovic.
Braithwaite himself was able to redeem himself at 25, when he beat the Eibar goalkeeper after first finishing off an assist from Junior, substitute for the sanctioned Jordi Alba on the left side. But again the VAR, the great protagonist at the start of the clash, burst into the game to cancel both offside.
Between one play and another, the dominance corresponded to the Gipuzkoan team, which overwhelmed the locals with high pressure, the mobility of the boisterous Inui on the left and the set pieces.
Kike had the first for Mendilibar’s men, but he finished very forced and deflected after stirring inside the area. Those of Koeman bailed water by high and tried to take control of the game, but combined slowly between the lines and did not find enough lucidity to go out with the ball played.
A poisoned center by Dest and a long free kick by Kadzior forced Dmitrovic and Ter Stegen to appear before Griezmann finished off wide with his left foot, from the front, shortly before reaching the break.
Eibar went to intermission with the feeling that they had the match exactly where they had dreamed. And Koeman wanted to reverse the trend by putting Dembélé for Dest and placing Mingueza on the right side, early in the second half. The Dutch coach thus ended his proposal to play with three centrals and recovered the defense of four.
Dembélé gave Barcelona another air. The first opportunity of the second half came out of their boots and, with it, the locals opened the field more and began to find spaces.
The French winger participated in the plays that ended with two deflected shots from Pjanic and Griezmann and lost a clear one-on-one against Dmitrovic.
But on the next play, Kike squeezed Araujo in the pressure and stole his wallet to beat Ter Stegen shortly before the game was on time.
Eibar was happy for ten minutes, which It took Dembélé to cross-finish an assist from Junior -this time disguised as Alba in his best game as a Barça player- to make it 1-1. And another play by the French striker shortly after, almost ended in a rebound goal by Braithwaite after a clearance by Dmitrovic.
The locals gave a few minutes of truce, Mendilibar made several changes to refresh his team and the Basques, who already lived very far from Ter Stegen, at least they managed to hold the guy to the end.
Even so, Trincao was about to give victory to Barcelona on a great personal move, but he crossed his shot too far in added time.
In those last minutes, Barcelona also lost Coutinho through injury, a setback that must be added to the failure of the penalty and the disallowed goal. Too many things to manage for a mentally unstable, cyclothymic soccer team that appears to have quit the league mid-season.
1 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Dembélé, min.46), Araujo, Mingueza, Lenglet (Sergio Busquets, min.82), Junior; De Jong, Pjanic (Coutinho, min.65); Pedri (Riqui Puig, min.88); Griezmann (Trincao, min.65) and Braithwaite.
1 – Eibar: Dmitrovic; Pozo, Esteban Burgos (Oliveira, min.72), Bigas, Luís Rafael; Diop, Sergio Álvarez; Kadzior (Recio, min.81), Edu Exposito, Inui; Kike (Muto, min.72).
Goals: 0-1: Kike, min.57. 1-1: Dembélé, min.67.
Referee: Alberola Rojas (Castilian-Manchego Committee). He showed yellow cardboard to Sergio Álvarez (min.75) and Recio (min.83)
Incidents: Match of the sixteenth day of LaLiga Santander, played at the Camp Nou behind closed doors.