Barca suffer third straight home loss in Vallecano 1-0 win at Camp Nou


Patrick Kelechi


Daily Courier – Barcelona suffered their third consecutive home defeat as Rayo Vallecano won 1-0 at Camp Nou in La Liga, thanks to Alvaro Garcia’s early goal.

The evening could not have started any worse for Xavi’s side, as the visitors stunned the home crowd within the first six minutes.

Sergino Dest, who was filling in for the injured Dani Alves, was caught off guard as Garcia darted inside the hosts’ danger area. Isi Palazon found the winger, who controlled and guided a wonderful rifled finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen with just the keeper to beat.

Barcelona threatened an immediate comeback through Jordi Alba and Ronald Araujo, and they came close to profiting off a Rayo error on the half-hour mark when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang closed down Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.

The ball was scooped up by Frenkie de Jong, who fed Ousmane Dembele, but Aubameyang was unable to divert the Frenchman’s cut-back towards goal.

As Barcelona looked for an equaliser before the break, the crossbar saved the visitors. Gavi was fast to receive the loose ball from a corner on the edge of the box, looping his effort off the underside of the crossbar and Ferran Torres’ rebound was ruled offside.

Palazon then met a vicious Francisco Garcia delivery early in the second half and should have doubled their lead. Alba, on the other hand, was perfectly positioned to deflect the attempt from five yards out.

After the break, Barca struggled to break through the visitors, and it took the hosts until the 70th minute to make a serious effort at goal. Memphis was in the penalty area when Dembele’s cross arrived, but Nikola Maras bravely flung himself in front of the shot from only six yards out.

As Adama Traore threatened with his pace off the bench, Memphis stung the palms of Stole Dimitrievski in the Rayo goal with a rasping effort from range, which the keeper kept out to preserve his clean sheet.

In injury time, the former Wolves star slid into the penalty box before curling a shot towards goal with the outside of his foot, but Dimitrievski was equal to his effort, as Rayo clung on for victory thanks to a dramatic goalline stop on Dembele’s late effort.

The loss keeps Barcelona 15 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid in second place, while Rayo climb to 11th place, leapfrogging Celta Vigo, Espanyol and Elche.