MX23RW : Friday, August 6 02:35:44| >> :120:13077:13077:

Result: Lionel Messi-less Barcelona held by struggling Eibar

Result: Lionel Messi-less Barcelona held by struggling Eibar
© Reuters
Substitute Ousmane Dembele's second-half equaliser saved Barca from defeat.

Barcelona laboured to a 1-1 draw with relegation-battling Eibar as the in-demand Lionel Messi watched on from the stands.

Barca needed a 67th-minute equaliser from Ousmane Dembele to take a point from a side hovering just above LaLiga's drop zone after Kike Garcia embarrassed Ronald Araujo to open the scoring just before the hour mark.

Dembele, a half-time substitute, was the star of the show from a Barcelona perspective, setting up a string of chances for his team-mates and coming close to adding a late winner, but it was not enough as their frustrating season suffered another setback.

The display was unlikely to have impressed the watching Messi, just back from an extended break in Argentina and not involved due to an ankle injury, as speculation over his next move ramps up with the 33-year-old moving into the final months of his contract.

Barca had a penalty inside five minutes after Araujo drew a foul from Pedro Bigas but they could not take advantage as Martin Braithwaite wasted the opportunity, firing wide of the left upright.

Eibar took encouragement from the let-off, enjoying a strong spell as they created opportunities for Takashi Inui, Garcia and Edu in between a string of corners.

Barca did not reemerge as an attacking force until midway through the half, with Araujo's header forcing a decent save from Marko Dmitrovic.

Braithwaite had the ball in the net in the 25th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Ronald Koeman sent on Dembele to replace defender Sergino Dest at the break and it appeared to be working as he had two chances either side of creating openings for Miralem Pjanic and Antoine Griezmann.

But just as the game seemed to be tilting Barca's way, Garcia robbed Araujo of the ball on the halfway line and ran at goal to fire beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Koeman responded with two more changes as he sent on Philippe Coutinho and Trincao, and 10 minutes later Barca were level. A neat move on the left freed Junior Firpo to send over a low cross and Dembele had all the space he could want to fire back across the face of goal.

The game was set up for a Barcelona winner as Dembele continued to pull the strings, but Clement Lenglet headed over before Braithwaite fired wide and they could not take any of their late chances.

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Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman pictured in October 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Real Sociedad00000000

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