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Messi and Barcelona left incensed after goal denied in La Liga draw against Valencia

The ball bounced inside the goal line but the referee waved play on.

Image: Alberto Saiz

LA LIGA’S TOP-of-the-table clash between Valencia and Barcelona on Sunday was overshadowed by the league’s refusal to embrace goal line technology as Barca’s Lionel Messi was denied a clear opening goal.

Valencia goalkeeper Neto let the five-time World Player of the Year’s effort slip between his legs in the 30th minute and than tried in vain to scoop the ball to safety before it crossed the line.

However, to Messi’s amazement neither the referee or his assistant signalled for the goal to stand.

Some of the Barcelona contingent converged on the referee to protest when he ruled out the score. Meanwhile Messi, who had initially began celebrating the goal, threw his arm up in disgust after the incident.

Unlike in Europe’s other major leagues such as the Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A, La Liga president Javier Tebas has refused to introduce goal line technology due to concerns over cost.

It is not the first time Barca have paid the price for Tebas’s reluctance as they were also denied a clear goal in a 1-1 draw at Real Betis last season.

Sunday night’s fixture ended 1-1, with Valencia taking the lead in the second half through Rodrigo, before Jordi Alba scored an 81st minute equaliser for Barcelona with a volley inside the penalty area.

Despite the result, Barcelona are still four points clear at the top of the La Liga table, while Valencia remain in second place.

© – AFP 2017

With additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell.

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