Rayo Vallecano 2-1 FC Barcelona: Hiccup at Vallecas

Rayo Vallecano 2-1 FC Barcelona: Hiccup at Vallecas

Lewandowski's late goal isn't enough to start a comeback against a side that has now thwarted the Catalans on four consecutive occasions, but the 11-point lead in La Liga holds

After Real Madrid had tumbled to a 4-2 defeat in Girona, Wednesday’s game at Vallecas presented Barça with the opportunity to go 14 points clear at the top of the Liga table. An already massive lead would have become practically unsurmountable.

But it didn’t happen. What is it about Rayo Vallecano? That’s four games against them and not a single win to show for it.


With an 11-point cushion and just seven more games to play, Barça remain in an extraordinarily powerful position. Today’s defeat may only mean delaying mathematical confirmation of the title, but it still comes as a major disappointment.

But also, as Xavi said after the game, "it is a reminder of just how difficult it is to win this competition."

Mere tenth goal conceded

Both sides were fired up what proved to be a very lively encounter indeed. But Rayo, still in the hunt for European places, looked the most fired up of the two. They have enjoyed good results against Barça in the past, and clearly believed they could get another one here.

They could have scored when Sergio Camello was through one-on-one with Ter Stegen. The outstretched hand of the German keeper, a last minute doubt when he got hurt in the warm-up, kept that one out.

But he was beaten a few minutes later when Alvaro Garcia’s angled shot became just the tenth goal conceded by the Catalans this season.

Double trouble

Frankly, Rayo had probably been playing the better football. Xavi has warned of this before the game. What he described as "the most intense opponent in the league" are a side that he does not feel comfortable against and it was showing.

And it got worse. Eight minutes into the second half, Fran García robbed Frenkie de Jong and powered through on goal. And he found the net.

It was only the second time this league season that a team had managed to score two goals in the same game against Barça.

Lewy pulls one back

Most of Barça’s big chances were falling to Robert Lewandowski. Rayo keeper Stole Dimitrievski was winning their private battle, and even when the Pole did beat the Macedonian stopper just before the break, the flag was up for offside.

But Lewy kept plugging away, and with seven minutes to play he pounced on the rebound of Franck Kessie’s original effort to slam in the goal that got his side right back in the game.

Amazingly, it was the first time in four games that Barça had scored against their hosts.

The apparently unperturbed Vallecas was still in good song, and although Barça tried to press forward in search of a late equaliser, Rayo weren’t offering any way through. The referee called time on just the third defeat of FC Barcelona this league season.

It was certainly a setback, and far from the finest Barça performance of the season, but the most important thing is that with such a massive lead, they can afford the occasional hiccup. And this was one of those.


Força Barça
Força Barça

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