FC Barcelona suffered a third successive defeat at the Camp Nou after falling to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Rayo Vallecano on Sunday night.
Result: Barcelona 0-1 Rayo Vallecano
Date: 24 April 2022
Venue: Camp Nou
Barcelona made two changes to the side that defeated Real Sociedad in the week with Dani Alves and Gerard Pique making way for Sergio Dest and Eric Garcia.
Barca enjoyed a long period of possession from kick-off but fell behind unexpectedly in the seventh minute. A brilliant team move from Rayo ended in Isi Palazon cutting inside of Jordi Alba before playing a precise through ball for Alvaro Garcia who got there ahead of Dest and hit a low strike past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen at the near post.
Rayo survived a scare in the 15th minute. Dest's delivery caused havoc in the Rayo box before the ball fell to Ronald Araujo, whose weak shot was straight at Stole Dimitrievski.
Barca were putting the visitors under a lot of pressure. First, Alba fired narrowly over from Ousmane Dembele's cross and then a corner was cleared out to Gavi who placed a crisp strike from just inside the box against the underside of the bar.
Xavi's side were probing patiently but not creating enough. Dembele was continuing his good form, however, as he got to the byline and fizzed in a low cross that flicked off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the six-yard box before Alejandro Catena scrambled it clear.
Alba then came to Barca's rescue with a heroic block. Francisco Garcia whipped in a dangerous cross and Palazon got there first to smash a volley against Alba from five yards out, with the experienced full-back putting his body bravely on the line to keep the deficit at one.
In the 73rd minute Dembele's cross found its way to Memphis Depay inside the six-yard box and the attacker swivelled before lashing a strike which was magnificently blocked by Nikola Maras.
With ten minutes to go, Dimitrievski pushed Depay's stinging 20-yard drive around the post before the goalkeeper followed that up by punching the resulting corner clear.
There was some late drama in the match as Barca's strong appeals for a penalty were turned down after Gavi appeared to be bundled over by Catena in the box and then Adama Traore wriggled into the six-yard box after riding a few challenges and poked a shot at goal that Dimitrievski tipped wide to seal the victory for the visitors.
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