Yesterday, at Gran Canaria Stadium, FC Barcelona was officially allowed to win another game, this time away to 18th placed UD Las Palmas. The win kept the Cules’ win streak alive, their place atop the La Liga table, and Luis Suarez’s spot atop the scorer’s table. But it was not a fairly obtained result.
The scoring began and ended early. The one-sided officiating only needed to be so a couple of times for the final result to be obtained.
Barca scored at the sixth minute when Andres Iniesta sent a perfect through ball that a streaking Jordi Alba met at the top corner of the left side of the Las Palmas box. The winger then crossed perfectly to Suarez who was ahead of all defenders and met the ball with a perfect one-touch shot into the roof of the net, by the far, right post. A pretty opening goal.
The only problem was that when Iniesta passed to Alba, Suarez was already off side, so he should not have been able to participate in the play. One goal allowed that should have never been.
Try to see replays of the action from the moment Iniesta gets possession, that is how early on Suarez was off side.
Four minutes later, an even better play saw Jonathan Viera’s back-heeled flick put Brazilian striker Willian Jose through and he slotted the ball coolly into the net from close in. Game tied 1-1 at the 10th minute. Twenty-nine minutes later the game’s scoring would be over. The third goal, Barcelona’s second, at the 39th minute, the eventual winning goal, also involved Suarez.
That winning goal was scored off a play that began when Suarez was played ahead by Dani Alves down the right side of the Las Palmas side of the field. The play, which went back and forth quickly, the first Suarez foray met with a stopping effort by the Las Palmas defense, featured a great dribbling run into the box by Suarez, who had not given up when first stopped. He regained possession, continued down the wing, got around his marker at the goal line, and sent a back pass to Lionel Messi who one-timed a shot Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Paras parried. Speedy Neymar beat everyone to the rebound and blasted in from very close range for the final, winning score.
The only problem was that when Alves sent his pass ahead, Suarez was already off side. That should have stopped the play. But the infraction went uncalled by the officials and the goal was allowed to stand.
Sadly, the linesman was right in line with Suarez on both plays and never raised his flag. Try to find replays of the action from the moment Alves obtains possession, that is how early on Suarez was off side.
The troubling question fans must begin to ask themselves is, sadly: was FC Barcelona being allowed to cheat? It certainly seemed that way in their game against Celta de Vigo six days ago.
Let us find out just what type of officiating the Catalans face in their Champions League clash on Tuesday, at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Unfortunately, we will either find this to be a universal largesse the Catalans are enjoying, or an insular advantage granted them exclusively within domestic play. Neither is a good thing, but if any further documentation of such unfair advantage accumulates, it might be time La Liga, UEFA, FIFA, or all three, check into the phenomenon before FC Barcelona amasses any further records, titles, trophies, and other unearned glory.