FC Barcelona is still trying to dig itself out of a hole in the Spanish La Liga but made little progress last night against Alaves. The Catalan side could only manage a 1-1 draw even against an Alaves side that was playing with only ten men in the final half-hour of the match.

FC Barcelona is currently languishing in 12th place at the La Liga table, after failing to win their last four league fixtures. The draw against Alaves was a missed opportunity to gather three points after Jota's red card off a second yellow left the hosts with only ten players on the field. However, Barcelona failed to take advantage.

It was Alaves who scored the first goal of the match thanks to Luis Rioja who dispossessed and outplayed Barca keeper Neto in the 31st minute. Antoine Griezmann equalised for Barca midway through the second half but they were unable to seal a victory.

Teenage sensation Ansu Fati kept looking for the winner but he was denied a goal on his 18th birthday. Alaves keeper Fernando Pacheco was in excellent form and managed to keep the fiery young forward at bay. Griezmann had the opportunity for a brace but had a goal ruled out.

Pacheco was a real hero for Alaves as he kept out various efforts from an array of Barcelona players. Lionel Messi, Miralem Pjanic and Sergino Dest all made attempts but Pacheco was having none of it.

Barcelona is in unfamiliar territory so far down the La Liga table. They have a game in hand compared to the leaders but a victory will only bring them up to around 7th place, still out of the European spots. It is still early in the season but it is unfathomable to think that Barca may be at risk of failing to qualify to the international competitions next season.

In any case, they are enjoying some success in the ongoing UEFA Champions League. They are on top of their group after wins over Juventus and Ferencvaros. The club is currently trying to keep their game face on in the pitch despite having the entire board resign just days ago. It remains to be seen if they can pull off a La Liga comeback.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi with Frenkie de Jong at the end of Barcelona's 2-0 win away to Juventus AFP / Marco BERTORELLO