Barcelona gave themselves a major thurst in La Liga title race on Monday night when a last-minute goal by Ousmane Dembele gave them 3 points against Real Valladolid; taking them within 1 point of league leaders Atletico Madrid, who lost to Sevilla earlier in the weekend.
The match, which ended 1-0, had its fair share of controversy too as Barcelona star Lionel Messi was seen hitting out at match referee Jaime Latre at half time with the scoreline locked a stalemate.
In what turned out to be a tense game, Messi looked furious with the referee's performance at the break, accusing Latre of purposely trying to show him a red card, reported Spanish sports daily Diario AS.
Messi was heard saying on the camera in Spanish: "He (Latre) wants to give me a card……incredible", hinting at an alleged conspiracy to get him suspended ahead of their high-octane tie against arch-rival Real Madrid, dubbed El Clasico.
Messi so far has been booked four times this season in the league and any further booking will cost him a match suspension as per La Liga rules. Apart from him, the team's in-form midfielder Frekie De Jong is also a booking away from suspension.
With nine games of the season remaining Barcelona could overtake Atletico Madrid with a win over their age-old rivals, who themselves trail Los Rojiblancos by three points.