Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Barcelona Highlights | La Liga

Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Barcelona Highlights | La Liga

Barcelona, the reigning Spanish champions, faced a setback with a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday, extending a concerning trend of lackluster performances. Surprise leaders Girona and rivals Real Madrid in second now have an opportunity to widen their lead over the third-place Catalans in the coming days.

Unai Lopez scored for Rayo Vallecano with a long-range shot in the first half, but Barcelona leveled the score through Florian Lejeune’s own goal in the 82nd minute.

The draw adds uncertainty to Barcelona’s form, which has been subpar for several weeks. They are set to face Porto on Tuesday in the Champions League seeking qualification for the knockout round.

Barcelona manager Xavi commented on the match, stating, “I think it was a game of two halves. In the first, we dominated but weren’t aggressive enough. In the second, we were, we scored a goal, and could have had others… we need to win these games if we want to win the league.”

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Inaki Pena started in goal for Barcelona, replacing the injured Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Xavi also brought back the fit-again Frenkie de Jong to replace the injured Gavi in midfield.

Rayo Vallecano took the lead in the 39th minute when Unai Lopez scored a superb goal from about 30 yards out. Barcelona improved in the second half but lacked intensity, according to Xavi.

Barcelona players wore shirts with Gavi’s name on the back before kick-off, expressing solidarity with the injured player.

Despite late efforts to secure a victory, Barcelona had to settle for a draw, highlighting their struggles this season. They have now failed to beat Rayo Vallecano in five matches.

Barcelona could fall six points behind Girona if Girona wins against Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid, two points ahead of Barcelona, is set to visit Cadiz on Sunday. Atletico Madrid, in fourth place, will host Mallorca later on Saturday.

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