Barcelona held by 10-man Alaves to extend winless streak in La Liga
Madrid: Barcelona made it four La Liga games without a win on Saturday after failing to beat 10-man Alaves, a 1-1 draw leaving Ronald Koeman's side sitting 12th in the table. Luis Rioja put Alaves in front at Mendizorrotza after an error from Barca goalkeeper Neto, with Antoine Griezmann equalising in the second half, a minute after Jota Peleteiro was sent off. But with almost half an hour left and an extra man, Barcelona were still unable to find a winner, instead settling for a draw to go with recent defeats by Getafe and Real Madrid, and another draw against Sevilla. It means Madrid, who had earlier won 4-1 at home to Huesca, now sit eight points clear of their Catalan rivals while Atletico are six ahead after they beat Osasuna 3-1. Atletico will go top if they win a game in hand. Even at this early stage in the title race, the gap is significant and Koeman will know the scrutiny on his position as coach will increase, particularly after the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu as president on Tuesday. Bartomeu appointed Koeman coach in August and eight points from the first six league games is not the sort of form that will impress the next president and board, who should be voted in before the end of January. Koeman's decision to take off Ansu Fati with 12 minutes left was particularly surprising given Fati had been arguably Barcelona's most dangerous player, perhaps even more threatening than Lionel Messi, who endured a frustrating night. Messi has still not scored in open play this season and while he was at the heart of almost every Barca attack, his touch and finishing was again not as crisp as usual. He was booked in the first half for dissent. - AFP