Blaugrana condemned to shock defeat at Rayo Vallecano
Vallecano 2-1 Barcelona: Leaders shocked at Vallecas as Xavi’s side failed to go 14 points clear at the top of La Liga 2022/23 since Real Madrid were also beaten at Girona.
Alvaro Garcia and Fran Garcia fired Los Franjirrojos to a tight victory over the Spanish top flight current leader.
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It’s not the result that we predicted for the midweek La Liga fixture as Barca travelled to Vallecano, but Andoni Iraola’s side have won against Barca and Los Blancos in the same domestic season.
The Catalan side started slowly and found themselves behind after 19 minutes with Alvaro Garcia’s opener. After the break, the home side saw their lead doubled as Fran Garcia broke lear to finish at the 53th minute.
Robert Lewandowski scored late in the game but it was too late for the visitors to find at least a point.
A 11-point gap with Madrid remains after the Matchday 31 defeat, but it appeared to see that the Catalan giants’ domestic form has been very unstable with 2W 1L 2D in the last five league games.
Xavi’s side almost conceded a goal 17 minutes in when Sergio Camello was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The sign was clear as the German goalkeeper was beaten only two minutes later with Alvaro’s low drive to the bottom-right corner.
Polish striker Lewandowski was denied a goal on the stroke of half-time, with VAR review confirmed he was offside with his left-footed finish.
The lead was doubled seven minutes after the restart as Fran Garcia calmly finished under Ter Stegen.
According to Opta, there are only two players who have scored against Barcelona in LaLiga in each of last two seasons: David Garcia (Osasuna) and Alvaro Garcia (Rayo Vallecano) — two goals each.
Lewandowski ensured a nervy finish when he volleyed into the top-right corner after Franck Kessie’s shot deflected into his path.
It was the host that held on to claim a surprise victory as the leaders have now taken just five points from the last 12 available to them in LaLiga, only managing one win in their last five matches across all competitions (D2 L2).
Barcelona welcome Real Betis to Camp Nou in LaLiga on Saturday, while Rayo go to Elche.