Jordi Alba scored a stunning equaliser against former club Valencia to preserve Barcelona’s unbeaten record in La Liga after the leaders had been controversially denied a goal.

Lionel Messi’s shot squirmed through the gloves of Neto and over the line before the keeper scooped the ball out.

The referee, who was outside the penalty area, waved play on, much to the fury of Barca’s players.

Rodrigo then stabbed Valencia ahead before Alba’s volley.

Barcelona remain four points clear at the top of La Liga, while Valencia stay second.

Valencia could have snatched all three points in the dying moments but Simone Zaza fired over from a great position.

Absence of goalline technology costs Barca

Defeat would have been harsh on Barca, having been denied the lead in a highly controversial moment before half-time with replays clearly showing Messi’s shot crossed the line.

Former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “Mad that they don’t have goalline technology in La Liga. Think they’ll be revisiting the debate after Messi’s goal was ruled not to have crossed the line when it clearly did.”

Spanish football journalist Andy West tweeted a picture clearly showing the ball over the line.

He added: “Don’t understand people opposed to video refs. How can you not want mistakes like this to be corrected?”

The incident clearly upset Barca as Valencia went on to take the lead, Rodrigo pouncing from close range following Jose Luis Gaya’s low cross.

Valencia looked solid at the back but with eight minutes remaining Alba chose the perfect moment to score his first goal of 2017, an exquisite finish from Messi’s delicious pass.

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