Last weekend in La Liga Barcelona kept up their seemingly unstoppable charge to the Spanish title with a dramatic 3-2 at bottom club Osasuna, having trailing 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining. Yet the match was spoiled by a series of tit-for-tat exchanges of bad sportsmanship between the sides which marred an otherwise fantastic game.
Bad blood started emerging after a bizarre incident early on in the game after a poor tackle from Josetxo left Sergio Busquets poleaxed on the floor in pain. Lionel Messi picked up possession of the ball when he spotted his fellow Barca player prostrate on the turf. Immediately the Argentine stop playing, but rather than booting the ball into touch so that assistance could be called from the sidelines, Messi seemed to gesture to the surrounding Osasuna players for them to kick the ball out of play. But the Osasuna players refused to stop playing, stole the ball and continued attacking.
And as luck would have in the second half the shoe was on the other foot, with Barcelona have their moment of revenge by refusing to kick the ball into touch. On that occasion, keeper Victor Valdez made minimal contact with Osasuna striker Jaroslav Plasil as both players went for the ball, with the forward exaggerating his knock by falling to the ground. But rather than halt play, Barca looked to continue the play only for the ref to blow his whistle.
Cue the handbags.
Both incidents of bad sportsmanship can be seen here.