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Sport

Difficult for Barca to win league, admits Koeman after Eibar draw

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said his side would find it difficult to win the La Liga title after they ended a traumatic 2020 with a 1-1 draw at home to minnows Eibar on Tuesday.

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The result left Barca sixth in the standings and seven points behind Atletico Madrid, who have played two games fewer than the Catalans.

“If we are realistic, winning the championship is very difficult for us,” Koeman told reporters.

“Nothing is impossible but we have to acknowledge the big points distance with Atletico, who are in very good form, looking strong, winning a lot games and not conceding many goals.”

Barca have won eight of the last 12 La Liga titles and if Koeman’s pessimistic prediction is proved right, they will fail to win the title for two years in a row for the first time since the 2007/08 season.

The Catalans were missing the injured Lionel Messi but still had plenty of opportunities, including Martin Braithwaite missing a penalty and Ousmane Dembele coming close on several occasions.

But yet again, they paid dearly for failing to take their chances and for a defensive howler.

Defender Ronald Araujo was the culprit on Tuesday after he lost possession high up the pitch to Kike Garcia, who gave Eibar the lead in the second half. Dembele equalised 10 minutes later.

“It’s always good to score first because then the team usually plays with more confidence and ease but in the end we had more than enough chances to score more,” Koeman said.

“The draw isn’t fair but this is happening too often to us. We do things badly and once again an error that led to a goal has cost us. I don’t want to blame anyone but these are key moments in the game.

“We were lacking a player in Leo who makes the difference year after year but I’m left wondering how we didn’t manage to win the game. We created chances, missed a penalty and then gave them a goal with their only opportunity of the game.”

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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