A brace from Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas as the Catalans played in an empty Camp Nou due to Political unrest.
Barcelona was forced to lock out 98,000 fans as they played behind closed doors following the rejection of their request to postpone the match amid Political unrest during the Catalonia independence referendum.
Las Palmas created good chances as they struck the bar in the first half but midfielder Sergio Busquets put the home team ahead with a header in the 48th minute with Lionel Messi scoring twice in the 70th and 77th minute to increase the winning run.
Tension was high as violence broke out in Catalonia following attempts to cast vote on independence referendum. Spanish Police clashed with protesters using rubber bullets to disperse the crowd injuring no fewer than 337 persons and 11 Policemen according to Catalan government.
Barca’s defender, Gerard Pique has threatened to quit the Spanish National team before 2018 if his supporting the Catalan referendum is a problem for the team.
“I think I can continue, but if the Board really thinks I’m a problem, I will take a step back and leave the National team before 2018.”
Pique has 91 appearances for the National team. He has shown support and says he is proud of the Catalans.
“I am and I feel Catalan today more than ever. I am proud of the behaviour of the people of Catalonia. Voting is a right that must be defended.”
He said on his Twitter handle.
Barcelona insisted the match be postponed but were faced with sanctions which included forfeiting the match points. Barcelona announced 20 minutes before the scheduled kick off that the match will be played behind closed doors.
Despite the cold situation, Las Palmas had a good performance dominating the first half. Oussama Tannane had a long range shot on target before passing for Jonathan Calleri’s shot which struck the bar.
Chichizola had to deal with Lionel Messi’s freekicks as they posed a great challenge for him.
Meanwhile, the match was briefly interrupted as a protester managed to find a way into the stadium and onto the pitch. The situation was however put under control by the security.
On few occasions, teams have been forced to play behind closed doors for a number of reasons.
In October 1980, West Ham played Castilla in an empty Upton Park Stadium after reported fans riot in the first leg in Madrid.
Lecce and Juventus played behind closed doors in May 2009. Juventus was punished for racist abuse against Mario Ballotelli who is a black Italian, with chants that Italy had no blacks. Juventus President, Giovanni Gigli sent a personal apology to Balotelli later on.
Also in 2012, Ajax played behind closed doors against AZ Alkmaar. A fan had broken into the pitch and aimed a kung fu kick at AZ Alkmaar’s goalkeeper, Esteban Alvarado. Alvarado who landed kicks into the fan was given a straight red card but teammates protested and eventually abandoned the match.
Ajax was fined and ordered to re-play the match behind closed doors.
Following the setting off of fireworks inside the stadium against Borrusia Moenchengladbach, Turkish side, Fenerbahce, were ordered to play their Europa League match against BATE behind closed doors in Istanbul.
However fire flares rained down on the pitch as fans launched them from outside. This was as a result of the giant LED screen which was allowed to be put on close to the stadium which attracted tens of thousands of Fenerbahce fans.
FIFA has however tried to distance football from politics, banning and sanctioning players who get involved in it while on the pitch of play.
Barcelona has 21 points haven won all seven matches this season.