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Barça have dropped points for the just the second time this season after Mallorca held them to a 2-2 draw at Son Moix on Tuesday night.
Twice they went behind and twice they found an equaliser, but in a game curiously reminiscent of the one at Estadi Olimpic just three days earlier, and despite a tremendous effort to the contrary, this time there were no late heroics and Barça had to settle for a point.
Another early setback
There had been much euphoria following the amazing late comeback against Celta. But Xavi’s pragmatic reaction had been to accept that his team was ‘playing with fire’ and should never have allowed themselves to be trailing in the first place.
But here on the strangely over-watered field at Son Moix, they were in a similar situation. Ter Stegen misjudged a pass and Vedat Muriqi capitalised on the confusion by putting the islanders into an 8th minute lead.
Once again a turnaround was needed and was no unlikely prospect against a side that had only won one game all season, and which Barça had beaten in the last 11 meetings, not even conceding a goal in eight of them.
Indeed, although finding a way through the solid five-man Mallorcan defence was no easy task, the equaliser finally came when Raphinha decided to have a pop from long range. The Brazilian struck the perfect spot that home keeper Predrag Rajković was never going to reach.
Barça had a series of chances to make it two before the break, and a second goal was very much on the cards. Which made it all the more frustrating when Mallorca took the lead again.
Out of the blue, an annoyingly simple long ball goal kick onto Muriqi’s head was slotted home by Abdón Prats, and Barça were back to playing catch-up.
João Félix hit the post, Robert Lewandowski (rested at the start) was now on, and so was Lamine Yamal who was brought down in the area with his first touch of the ball.
At least so it seemed, but VAR decided otherwise, and the penalty didn’t stand.
Fermin fires back
There was still time. And like against Celta, the Catalans refused to stop believing. And with a quarter of an hour still to play, Fermín López was able to celebrate his first ever official goal for the team.
Lewandowski gets much of the credit. For although the top scorer had the chance to do something with Raphinha’s assist, he spotted the youngster coming through in a better position and left the ball for the 20-year-old to finish off.
Mallorca were determined not to crumble the way Celta had done and did all they could to take the sting out of Barça late momentum.
There was some sublimely sweet football from Barça as they drove forward time and time in search of the winner, with Yamal totally standing out every time he went near the ball, but every time there was a red shirt there to spoil the fun.
Lightning didn't strike twice, time ran out and Barça move to one point top clear at the top of the table, but both Girona and Real Madrid have games in hand to play tomorrow.
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