Barcelona 4 - 2 Eibar: As it happened, goals, match report
Inui scored twice to put Eibar in the lead, but Barça recovered through Messi (2), Suárez, and Juncà (OG). Madrid's win in Málaga means the league changes handsBarcelona vs Valencia: Copa del Rey semi-final 17/18
Barcelona 4 - 2 Eibar: match report
Barça recovered from an early scare to beat a resilient Eibar side, but it was not enough to win a third consecutive LaLiga title. This season, the trophy goes to the capital. Real Madrid’s 0-2 win at Málaga means that Los Blancos will win the league for the first time since 2011-12.
Luis Enrique, managing Barcelona for the last time, came in to the match knowing that with his team three points behind Real Madrid in the title race, a win alone would not be enough. Barça also needed Málaga to do them a favour, and it was not to be.
Eibar had lost to Barcelona in all five of their previous LaLiga meetings. Yet, for a long time, it did not seem likely that Barcelona would see out their objective for the evening. Japanese winger Takashi Inui scored two well-finished goals to give the visitors a shock lead, before an unlucky own goal by Juncà gave Barcelona a foothold in the match. Messi (2) and Suárez completed the scoring for Barça, who were awarded two soft penalties, one of which saw Eibar defender Ander Capa sent off for a second yellow card.
The two teams emerged to the Camp Nou turf beneath a vast tifo, paying tribute to outgoing manager Luis Enrique. Yet it was Eibar that made the brighter start. The Basque team were adventurous and bold. Coach José Luis Mendilibar set them up in an attacking 4-4-2 formation, with an emphasis on harrying the Barcelona players when the home side had possession.
After seven minutes, that positivity delivered a goal. Ander Capa, energetic at right-back, sent a searching cross to the far post. Inui arrived, and crisply guided the bouncing ball in to Ter Stegen’s net, via a touch off the crossbar.
It did not look like the lead would last. Two minutes later, Suárez sprung the offside trap and galloped towards goal. The Uruguayan marksman, usually clinical, got his finish all wrong. His outside-of-the-boot shot skewed wide of Yoel’s goal. Rather than focusing Barça’s attention, the miss set the tone for the rest of the half. A combination of inspired goalkeeping from Yoel, and profligacy from Barcelona’s attacking trident, caused frustration to grow within Camp Nou. In the crowd, fans were plugged in to radio sets, eager for news from the south. It wasn’t good. Real Madrid were in the lead. The title was leaving Catalonia.
Half time came and went, and still Barcelona trailed. Eibar were suffocating the home side with an intense, high press. They hunted Barça defenders like a pack of wolves.
At the other end, Yoel kept Eibar in the lead. He flung himself across his goal to deny Iniesta, not once, but twice.
And then came the second. Kike laid the ball to an onrushing Inui, and he rasped an unstoppable drive in to the top corner, glancing off the crossbar on the way in. It was even better than his first goal, crashing off the bar and hitting the ground before bouncing up to the roof of the net. Players in blue and red held their heads in their hands.
Yet Barcelona, eventually, got their goal. It came just two minutes later, in unfortunate fashion for Eibar. Neymar’s low shot cannoned off the post, and Juncà, retreating towards goal, could not get out of the way. The ball bobbled agonizingly over the line.
That slice of fortune gave the home side hope. They switched on, launching wave after wave of attack. Six minutes later, Alba tumbled in the box and referee Hernández Hernández pointed to the penalty spot. It was an inexplicable decision; Alba had stubbed the turf and tripped over himself. Messi stood over the ball, hands on hips. His shot was hard, and to the right. But Yoel was in no mood to be beaten. He hurled himself to his left, and tipped the ball over with a magnificent, strong fist.
Barcelona did not have to wait long for the equaliser. Eibar were tired. Magnificent for so long, they could not sustain that level of performance. Neymar curled a corner to the head of Paco Alcácer, who glanced the ball to Suárez to turn in at the far post.
It was one-way traffic by this stage. One minute later, Neymar surged in to the box and fell under the challenge of Ander Capa. Again, the referee awarded a penalty. Again, it was soft. Capa received his second yellow card of the evening, and trudged down the tunnel as Messi swept the ball in to net.
The match lulled. Eibar knew they were beaten, Barça knew that their victory would be in vain. Messi added gloss to the victory in added time. It was sensational goal that from Messi. But from him, it just seems normal. He picked the ball up just inside the Eibar half, and weaved his way through dumbstruck players, before finding the bottom corner. It was a gorgeous goal, but a hollow one.
Just under 1000 kilometers south-west, Real Madrid had seen off Málaga. The league heads to Madrid after two years in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet. The fairy-tale ending to Luis Enrique’s spell at Barcelona was not to be.
Barcelona 4 - 2 Eibar: second half as it happened
Barcelona vs Eibar live stream online: team news
Barça XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Marlon, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Eibar XI: Yoel; Capa, Lejeune, Arbilla, Juncà; Peña, Dani García, Escalante, Inui; Enrich, Kike.
Barcelona vs Eibar live stream online: preview
The LaLiga title race is going down to the wire. Barcelona must win, and hope that Madrid fall to defeat at Málaga, if they are to win their third consecutive league title.
Eibar travel to Camp Nou from the Basque Country following an excellent season, and are sat in ninth place. Mendilibar's men threatened to break in to the European places earlier in the campaign, but the fact that they fell short should not detract from the achievement of a club with a stadium capacity of a little over seven thousand.
Barcelona: team news
Javier Mascherano will be absent. The Argentine defender suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up before Barça's comfortable victory over Las Palmas. He is also a doubt for the upcoming Copa del Rey final against Alavéz on the 27th May.
Gerard Piqué should be fit to face Eibar following a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, while Sergi Roberto should slot in at right-back as he returns from suspension.
Vidal, Rafinha, and Mathieu will also miss out through injury.
Luis Enrique has announced that he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, and he is looking forward to his final match in the dugout.
"It will be a special night for me, my last game as Barcelona coach. I am super proud to have been part of this club's history. I am privileged. I will be at Camp Nou a lot of times next season to watch games as a fan."
Eibar: team news
Pedro León and Sergi Enrich should both start for the away side. They are Eibar's main danger-men, having chipped in with 10 and 11 goals respectively this season.
Antonio Luna will be absent at left-back, while Japanese winger Takashi Inui should recover from injury in time. Fran Rico and Nano are also out.
Barcelona have won their last 11 LaLiga matches at Camp Nou.
The two teams have met in LaLiga on five occasions. Barça have won all of those encounters, scoring 16 goals and conceding just one.
Eibar have failed to find the net in five of their last six LaLiga matches.
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Eibar XI: Riesgo; Capa, Ramis, Lejeune, Juncà; Escalante, García; León, Adrian González, Inui; Enrich.
Barça are at 12/1 to romp to a 5-0 victory, which may or may not be enough to seal the title.
If you swing towards pun-based betting. Allow Sergi Enrich to enrich you - at 14/1 to open the scoring.