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2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Álex Alegría (74')
  • Luis Suárez (90')

Late Luis Suarez strike earns Barcelona a point at Real Betis

Luis Suarez prevented Barcelona's first La Liga defeat since Oct. 2 by equalising in the final minute of a controversial 1-1 draw at Real Betis.

Suarez pounced on an error by Betis substitute Nahuel Leiva to slot home his 16th league goal of the season after Alex Alegria had given Betis a 75th-minute lead.

But the main fall-out at the Estadio Benito Villamarin will surround the goal that never was. Barcelona were left cursing the absence of goal-line technology in Spanish football after Matteo Piccinini had appeared to put through his own net two minutes after Alegria's opener.

Aissa Mandy cleared from under -- and on to -- his own crossbar, but television replays clearly showed the ball had crossed the Betis goal-line.

Incredibly, Mandy made another desperate goal-line save seconds later, although this time the defender did get to the ball before it crossed the line.

Barcelona will feel they were robbed of victory in their title pursuit of Real Madrid and Sevilla, but a point was the least that Betis deserved for their efforts.

The Andalusians were the best side for long periods and struck the woodwork twice before Alegria struck from close range after Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had failed to collect a near-post corner.

And at 1-0, Castro failed to beat Ter Stegen when put clean through.

Barcelona made a bright start despite the exertions of their Copa del Rey victory over Real Sociedad little more than 60 hours earlier.

Aleix Vidal broke down the right and crossed to the far post where Suarez was quickly closed down to see his shot deflected wide.

But Betis' energy soon began to unsettle Barcelona and Lucas Digne was pressed into an 11th-minute mistake which would have been fatal but for Ter Stegen staying alert.

Barcelona were also missing the midfield presence of injured duo Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets and the hosts were keen to drive through that area.

Dani Ceballos, in particular, was posing problems for Barcelona with his strong running, and his wait for a first goal of the season almost ended after 19 minutes.

Ceballos found space on the edge of the area to deliver a powerful effort which Ter Stegen pushed away with a strong right hand.

Ruben Castro also had a shot blocked as Barcelona struggled for fluency, but the visitors almost grabbed the lead seven minutes before the break.

Lionel Messi's pass split the Betis defence to set up a one-on-one situation, but Neymar was unable to beat the advancing Antonio Adan.

Messi's creativity looked Barcelona's best route to goal and the Argentina forward set up Vidal for a right-footed volley which the full-back sent wide of the far post. But Betis were still the dominant side at the start of the second half and Ter Stegen held Alegria's 20-yarder before the goalkeeper was almost embarrassed outside his area.

Castro stepped in after Ter Stegen was guilty of overplaying but Alegria was unable to find the empty net from a tight angle 25 yards out.

Betis continued to push forward and Ter Stegen tipped Ceballos' 25-yard shot on to the bar before Castro cut inside Gerard Pique to strike a post.

A minute later, Betis were ahead, but that was only the start of the drama as Barcelona rallied to extend their unbeaten league run to 13 games.

Spanish Primera División Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Real Madrid 38 +65 93
2 Barcelona 38 +79 90
3 Atletico Madrid 38 +43 78
4 Sevilla FC 38 +20 72
5 Villarreal 38 +23 67
6 Real Sociedad 38 +6 64
7 Athletic Bilbao 38 +10 63
8 Espanyol 38 -1 56
9 Alavés 38 -2 55
10 Eibar 38 +5 54
11 Málaga 38 -6 46
12 Valencia 38 -9 46
13 Celta Vigo 38 -16 45
14 Las Palmas 38 -21 39
15 Real Betis 38 -23 39
16 Deportivo La Coruña 38 -18 36
17 Leganes 38 -19 35
18 Sporting Gijón 38 -30 31
19 Osasuna 38 -54 22
20 Granada 38 -52 20

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