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Eibar 0-1 Barcelona: 5 talking points as Griezmann fires Blaugrana to victory | La Liga 2020-21 

Barcelona picked up a narrow victory against Eibar
Barcelona picked up a narrow victory against Eibar
Ume Elvis
ANALYST

A late strike by Antoine Griezmann helped Barcelona pick up a narrow 1-0 victory away to Eibar on the last day of the 2020-21 season.

This was one of the more mundane fixtures, with not much at stake on the final matchday of a thrilling La Liga season.

Eibar's defeat to Valencia last week guaranteed that they will be returning to the second division after spending seven consecutive years in La Liga, in what was their first sojourn to the top-flight.

Barcelona were ruled out of the title race following their defeat to Celta Vigo last week and both sides had nothing but pride to play for.

The big headline in the build-up to the game was the absence of skipper Lionel Messi, with the club authorities having given him permission to miss the game in preparation for Argentina's Copa America tournament.

Ronald Koeman made several changes to his starting lineup, with just five players retaining their spot from the side that surprisingly lost to Celta Vigo on home turf last week.

Barcelona, expectedly, dominated possession in the early periods of the game but they struggled to break down a resolute Eibar defense.

The hosts, however, grew into the game and posed more attacking threats in a first half that was devoid of goalmouth action.

The second half was also a tepid affair, as neither side really exerted themselves, knowing that their fate for the season was already decided.

On the balance of play, a goalless stalemate would probably have been a fair result and it was going to take a moment of magic for the deadlock to be broken.

That proved to be the case when Antoine Griezmann pounced on a mistake in the box to give Barcelona the win with a spectacular overhead kick in the 81st minute.

The defeat saw Eibar end the campaign in last place in the standings, while Barcelona guaranteed a third-place finish irrespective of how Sevilla faired against Alaves.

Here are five talking points from the game.

#5 Will we see Lionel Messi in a Barcelona shirt again?

Lionel Messi will be out of contract in a few days
Lionel Messi will be out of contract in a few days

Lionel Messi's dicey contract situation at Barcelona means the Argentina international has ended the campaign without having signed an extension with the club.

With his current deal with the Blaugrana set to expire in a couple of days, the next chapter in Messi's illustrious career remains in doubt.

The 33-year-old was given permission to miss this game and unless Messi agrees an extension this summer, last week's defeat to Celta Vigo would be the last time we saw the mercurial Argentine in the Barcelona shirt.

#4 Spirited Eibar bow out with a fight

Eibar fashioned more chances than Barcelona
Eibar fashioned more chances than Barcelona

Eibar are one of the smaller sides in La Liga and they gained promotion to the top-flight for the first time in their history in 2014.

Since then, the Basque outfit have steadily punched above their weight to retain their top-flight status. They achieved a spectacular ninth place finish in 2018 that saw them end the campaign as the highest-ranking Basque team for the first time ever.

They have, however, run out of lives and last week's debilitating defeat away to Valencia sealed their fate.

Despite this, the players gave a spirited effort against Barcelona and carried more attacking threats for most of the game.

They had just 33% possession but fashioned 17 shots to Barcelona's seven and the result did not do justice to what was a vibrant display from the hosts.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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