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Barcelona rage against the Machín but Alavés hold firm

GRAF2038. VITORIA, 31/10/2020.- El delantero argentino del FC Barcelona, Leo Messi, intenta superar a los defensores del Alavés, durante el encuentro correspondiente a la octava jornada de primera división que disputan esta noche en el estad

Alavés 1-1 Barcelona: as it happened

Barcelona fall eight points behind Real Madrid

Alfredo Relaño

Barcelona fall eight points behind Real Madrid

Alfredo Relaño's editorial on the weekend's events for Barça and Real Madrid

Things are looking far better for Zidane's men after the two games...

The season is very long, Griezmann says, adding that he's happy at Barcelona and needs to keep working to get to his best. 

Griezmann out to face the pitch-side reporter... he says there's anger about the result and that Barça need to improve in every area. The Frenchman notes that Barça are not taking their chances and need to work on that.  


Corner, last chance for Barcelona.... into the gloves of Pacheco and it's all over! Alavés hold on for a point and Barça are denied in Mendizorrotza! Messi heads off down the tunnel with a face like thunder. 


Messi again! A trademark run across goal and he goes for the far corner. The number of times those have gone in... but it's not happening for Barcelona today. 


Messi! The Argentinean thinks he's done it there but his goal bound shot clips a defender and goes out for a corner. 


21 shots overall from Barcelona now... just the one goal to show for them. 


Tavares dispossesses Messi and hammers the ball into the opposition half. 


And another as Pjanic's effort is headed out. 


And another.... 


Another corner for Barça... straight out for another as Messi's shot is deflected behind. 


Five minutes added! 


Piqué! Perhaps not the player you'd want in the middle there as Sergi Roberto plays a wonderful ball into the area. The defender gets a boot to it but sends it well wide. 


Pacheco! What a game from the keeper, who this time palms a ferocious Pjanic shot behind for a corner. Kitchen sink time for Barcelona now, Alavés clinging on desperately. 


Pacheco! What a save again from the Alavés keeper to deny Dest! Messi played it short and the American hit it well but couldn't beat the home stopper. 


Duarte concedes a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area... Messi over it. 


Alavés get the ball out and win a throw on the right. The home side are just aiming to keep the ball away from their area now with plenty of tired legs following Jota's sending off. 


Trincão has a pop from the edge of the area and wins a corner. 


Indeed, Joselu is up top on his own now as Alavés get eight men plus Pacheco in between Barça and the sticks. 


Alavés have a breather as Pedri commits a tactical foul to prevent a break. The home side are running out of puff now though and don't appear as eager as earlier to get forward when they nick the ball. Machín will happily take this result and may decide to tell hs side to hold tight for 10 minutes.  


Ansu off for Martin Braithwaite. Koeman throwing on an out-and-out striker with Barça creating plenty of chances from the flanks now. 


It's cleared though and Alavés take it all the way up the other end through Tavares. Neto mops up with little fuss. 


Lejeune throws a boot in the way of a Sergi Roberto cross and Barça have a corner. 


A beautiful ball from Pedri finds Ansu but the Spain forward's shot is charged down. 


And it was indeed offside there, Griezmann slightly ahead of the last defender as he poked home at the far post. 


Meanwhile, Luis Rioja is off for Manu García. 


Griezmann again! But the flag is up and VAR will have a nose at this... 


Another free kick to Barça out on the right, Messi shaping to deliver this one. It's a nice idea as he finds Pjanic on the far side but the midfielder doesn't get hold of the shot and it's wide for a goal kick. 


Pacheco! The Alavés keeper makes a stunning save to deny Messi! 


What a turnaround in the space of a minute! Alavés down to 10 and Barça level through Griezmann. 


Gooooooooooooool! Griezmann! The Frenchman springs the offside trap and clips a shot over Pacheco to level! 


Jota Peleteiro is off! A high boot catches Piqué in the chops and the midfielder gets his marching orders for a second yellow! 


Messi is a toe away from teeing himself up for a one-on-one. 


Goodness. You don't see that often. Messi pulls rank on Pjanic and sends a wild shot into the upper tier. 


Free kick for Barcelona on the edge of the area as Battaglia floors Ansu. 


Defender for a midfielder. Machín looking to shut up shop with Barça currently all over the home side. 


Benfica loanee Tomás Tavares is on for his Alavés debut with Édgar making way. 


Neto out quickly to close down Deyverson. He needed to make sure of that one with nothing between the Brazilian and the goal. 


Ansu! The Spain forward slips his marker and meets a cross, sending a cross-shot just wide of the post and a yard too far ahead of the onrushing Griezmann. Alavés hanging on here to weather the storm. A change coming up for the home side. 


Barcelona are hammering on the door though! Ansu works some magic on the left and finds Griezmann, who can't get a shot off. The pink shirts are piling into the area and Alavés are defending tooth and nail to keep them at bay! 

Alavés will move up to 10th if the result here remains the same. 


Griezmann has moved to the tip of the attack now, more his natural position, with Messi dropping back to occupy the playmaker role in the middle of the supporting three. 


Messi! The Argentinean hits the target but it's a tight angle at the near post and a fairly comfortable stop for Pacheco. 


And not to kick a man when he's down or anything, but quite how Griezmann survived that cull is beyond us. Dembélé looked briefly threatening when he saw the ball. 


Never the best look when a coach changes three at half time. Koeman rolling the dice here. No changes from Alavés, who have the visitors pretty much where they want them. 


Triple change from Barça! Pjanic, Pedri and Trincão on, Lenglet, Busquets and Dembélé off! 

And you suspect the visitors will have to improve on the two shots on target they managed in the first half. We don't recall Pacheco having to make a serious save yet but Messi's effort was cleared off the line. 

The last time Barcelona lost three Liga matches in succession was in the 2015-16 season when they fell to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia over three fixtures in April.  


And Alavés end the half on the front foot after an excellent 45 from Machín's side, who have played their plan to perfection to carve out a 1-0 lead at the break. 


Two minutes added... 


Lejeune fancies trying a Roberto Carlos job from distance but the Frenchman hammers it high into the empty stands. 


Lenglet into the book for a very necesasary tactical foul as Alavés break again. Busquets joins him for an awful challenge on Édgar at the start of that move. Double trouble for Barça with both on a caution before half time. 


Messi goes for power and it hammers into the wall and out for a corner. The ubiquitous Deyverson is there to clear. 


Free kick to Barcelona on the edge of the area, Messi lining this one up.... 


Ximo Navarro is forced to hobble off with what looks like a hamstring job. Martín Aguirregabiria on to replace him. We think we'll just call him Martín. 


Messi goes in the book for pointing out to the ref that every time he gets the ball he's being hauled back by the nearest defender. The Argentinean has a pint but booting the ball away under the nose of the match official is only going to have one result. 


De Jong goes in to meet a Sergi Roberto cross and appeals for a penalty as he'd shoved while jumping. The ref says no dice though as the Dutchman's effort pings over. 


That is unfortunate for Neto, who has been generally excellent in the absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but that's the curse of being a keeper... however much hard work and game-saving heroics have gone before that will stick in most people's minds. Squeaky bum time for Koeman now...  

That's Rioja's first goal of the season for Alavés!  


A nothing ball from Deyverson is knocked back to Neto by Piqué. The Barça keeper doesn't seem to know what to do with it and allows Rioja to charge through and nick it off his boot before tapping in! Terrible defending from Barça all round there. 


Goooooooooooool! Alavés! What a clanger from Barça! 


Alavés are well drilled at the back, as you'd expect from a Machín side, and Barça are going to have to do something special to break down El Glorioso this evening. 


Which fails again to clear the first man, this time Griezmann getting his head to it. One for Machín to ponder there. 


Messi tries to go through the middle to feed Ansu but Alavés nick it and break. The final ball from Rioja is too late and too predictable though and Barça knock it out for a corner. 


Off the line! Florian Lejeune stops Messi's effort with Pacheco well beaten! Busquets dithers on the rebound and Alavés manage to close Griezmann down and clear!


Uffffff! Deyverson in the book for a crunching challenge on Messi. The Argentinean lines up the free kick right on the edge of the area, pretty much head on. 


Ooooooh, Griezmann won't want to see that replay later on. A flowing Barça move finds Ansu on the let. He squares for the Frenchman who clips a woeful shot well wide of the post from a very decent position. His confidence is at rock bottom at the moment. 


Messi receives the ball on the edge of the area and is swamped by four blue and white shirts. Access denied for the Argentinean. 


Great chance for Alavés! Rioja streaks down the left after a glorious ball from Deyverson and hits a fine cross into the path of Édgar Méndez, whose shot is on target but not venemous enough to trouble Neto. 


Peleitero into the book for a pull-back on Griezmann. No arguments from the Alavés man, who knew exactly what he was doing. 


Deyverson is running himself into the ground at the moment, pressing hard and helping out in defence. He won't last much more than an hour at this rate but Machín has obviously told him to put himself abut as much as possible. 


Ansu! Lenglet releases the youngster with a lovely through ball and you'd have whacked a fiver on the Spain forward to find the net there but he drags his shot wide of the far post! A let-off for the home side. 


Deyverson hooks a ball into the final third but the Brazilian didn't realise he was the furthest Alavés player forward there. 


The ref has a quiet word with Ximo Navarro as the defender goes through the back of Ansu on the touchline. Free kick to Barcelona. 


Alavés appeared to be cooking a training ground job there with a single file awaiting the delivery in the area, but it fails to clear Sergi Roberto at the near post. 


Corner for Alavés as Piqué nods a cross behind. The home side will need to make these count. 


Battaglia and Busquets duelling in the middle of the park... that will be a key battle. 


Apropos of nothing, we really wish Ronald Koeman would wear a mask in the dug out. Impressionable kids watching etc, surely LaLiga should introduce a regulation for that? Subs have to wear them in the stands. 


Another throw for the home side after the defence halted a Messi foray towards goal. Alavés go long this time but there's nobody there with Machín's side keeping it tight at the moment.  


Alavés have a throw deep in Barça territory but the visitors hook it clear. 


Nice interchange from Barça with De Jong in the thick of it but Alavés nick and break... that will be the home side's game plan this evening. 


We're off! Barça in pink, Alavés in their traditional blue and white. 

Piqué 550


The players are in the tunnel and we're about to get underway!

Barça's last five in all competitions. 

Here's Barça's bench for this evening. Sergiño Dest has been in excellent form recently so we assume he is being rested ahead of the Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev. There's no place for Riqui Puig while Pedri, who has proven to an astute signing, is also in reserve.


Rumours continue to swirl around Camp Nou as the various suits who have been waiting in the wings for Bartomeu's departure start to lay out their stall to replace the outgoing president. One of the front-runners, Víctor Font, did what any candidate in his position would and promised Pep Guardiola's return to the club, but the Manchester City manager has ruled out that scenario

Alavés starting XI confirmed

Pablo Machín has announced his XI for this evening's game with Deyverson and Luis Rioja leading the line in the Alavés boss' favoured 3-5-2. 

Alavés vs Barcelona: how and where to watch - times, TV, online


Alavés vs Barcelona: how and where to watch - times, TV, online

As ever, we've knocked together a little preview and some info on how and where you can watch this evening's game wherever you are in the world. 

Alavés do have a bit of previous in this fixture. After sealing promotion to the top flight in 2015-16 one of their first acts was to turn Barça over 2-1 at Camp Nou. However, since then today's visitors have won seven on the trot and last season knocked nine past Alavés over two Liga encounters. 

Alavés have not had the strongest of starts to the season: Pablo Machín's side have won only twice this season but both of those have been in their last three games and El Glorioso have conceded just three at home so far. 


Barcelona starting XI confirmed

And there we have our answer... Griezmann starts in attack with Philippe Coutinho unavailable with birthday boy Ansu Fati, Messi and Dembélé all getting the nod as Koeman names an attacking line-up. 

On the pitch Koeman faces issues as well with Antoine Griezman hardly firing on all cylinders at the moment. The Frenchman was an unused substitute against Ferencváros and got nine minutes during the Clásico defeat but returned to the starting line-up for the win in Turin. It seems Koeman still has not found a place for Griezmann - he is hardly alone there with both Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setién struggling to fit the forward in - and with Ousmane Dembélé back and in form it remains to be seen what role Griezmann will play tonight.  

All is of course not roses at Camp Nou after Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped down from his post during the week following a series of run-ins with star player Leo Messi, who attempted to leave the club last summer. It was Bartomeu who hired former defender Koeman and while the Dutchman's position has been strengthened somewhat after a 2-0 away win at Juventus in midweek the Barça boss really needs a result this evening. Still, Koeman is not concerned about his job and Barça do have two games in hand on Madrid going into this one.  

Ronald Koeman's side are very much playing catch-up at the moment with Real Madrid leading the table as Barça head into tonight's game after a 4-1 home win against Huesca. Barcelona are currently 13th with just two wins from five games and having suffered back-to-back defeats against Zidedine Zidane's team in last week's Clásico and away at Getafe before that. 

Alavés vs Barcelona live online: welcome

Hello and welcome to AS English's live coverage of the LaLiga Santander week eight fixture between Alavés and Barcelona from the Mendizorrotza Stadium in Vitoria. Kick-off is at 21:00 CET