Football Features

Rayo beat Barcelona in history-making result at Camp Nou to leave Real Madrid one point from title

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:35, 24 April 2022

In a ridiculous night of football, Rayo Vallecano beat Barcelona 0-1 at the Camp Nou.

This was the Blaugrana’s third consecutive home defeat, something they have not suffered since 1998 under Louis van Gaal. Though the Blaugrana remain in second place they have now played their game in-hand and only stay ahead of Sevilla on the head-to-head.

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The pattern of the game was eerily similar to their last home defeat to Cadiz, where the Blaugrana made a ridiculous defensive mistake to gift a goal to a side that otherwise didn’t look like scoring. Their opponent then sat back, wasted time and soaked up chances, knowing that had a lead to hold on to. Barcelona then try in vain to break them down, being denied by solid defending, poor (and/or unlucky) finishing and some downright strange refereeing.

So it was against Cadiz, now against Rayo the same. After the debacle against Eintracht Frankfurt, where 30,000 German fans were able to buy tickets to the game and turn the Camp Nou into an away day for the young Blaugrana side, it seems Barcelona have developed a complex.

The win has made history in a variety of ways; it is just Rayo Vallecano’s second win at the Camp Nou and their first for over 20 years. Moreover it is the first time since 1998 that Barcelona have lost three home games in a row. Back then they lost their last two home games of 1997/98 against Real Betis and Salamanca before losing the home leg of the Supercopa against Mallorca.

This season they fell to Frankfurt in the Europa League before the Cadiz and Rayo double-header defeats not only ended their faint hopes of winning La Liga but have effectively put Real Madrid on the brink of winning La Liga; with Los Blancos needing just one more point.

For the first time ever, Barcelona have lost three consecutive home matches in the same season, and with Mallorca up next in a week there’s honestly a chance, if they play like this again anyway, that it could become four.

“The ball didn’t want to go in,” said Xavi after the match.

On the top four race, Xavi added: “we’ve made our lives complicated,” and he’s right. Had they beaten Cadiz and Rayo they would have surely cemented their spot in the top four and as runners-up in La Liga. Now they are in a real dogfight for that top four spot.

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Barcelona have lost six games in La Liga this season and Pedri didn’t play in a single one of them. In fact when Pedri has been healthy, the Blaugrana’s record in La Liga is 10 wins and 2 draws including storming wins in El Clásico and against Atlético Madrid and Sevilla.

Pedri left the Frankfurt defeat at half-time with an injury; and with the Golden Boy ruled out until the end of the season, Xavi will have genuine concerns about his side’s ability to step up and control games without their 19 year-old midfield maestro. But if they want to secure Champions League qualification for next season that is exactly what they will have to do.



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