Barça needed to regain their confidence, show convincing play. Ahead of meeting Porto in the Champions League in three days’ time, the Blaugranas fielded a revised eleven. First, intense Rayo Vallecano dominated, opening the scoring with a goal from Unai Lopez, and Xavi’s players managed to take control of the game after returning from the dressing room. Once again FC Barcelona was saved by Robert Lewandowski in the last minutes of the match. In the end, the two teams shared the points at the end of a tense and engaging match (1-1).
Third in the standings before this game, FC Barcelona had to win to keep up with Girona and Real Madrid in the standings. But from the very beginning, the guests were surprised by the intensity shown by their today’s opponent. Francisco Rodriguez’s men showed a lot of enthusiasm in the game, with the ability to quickly project themselves forward and restrained pressing.
Isi Palazon also took advantage of high balls to release the first two shots of the game. Frenkie de Jong, who returned after more than two months of absence, was positioned very low in the offensive phases, which did not work for his team. At the end of the first period, Iñigo Martinez offered a free kick after excessive involvement by Palazon and at the same time opened the opponent’s score. Full of confidence, after this free kick, Unai Lopez took the ball uncontrollably from 35 meters and thus deceived Iñaki Peña (39).
Waking up too late for the Catalans
Returning from the locker room, de Jong made a small move to bring his creativity to the surface, and the effects were immediate. The entry of Gündogan instead of Romeu in the middle also worked well in the Blaugrana midfield. The second part was that of the Barcelona players, who dominated the game unheard of, but failed to realize that phase of supremacy. Rayo Vallecano defended as well as it could, making many mistakes.
Finally, as against Alavés, Real Sociedad or even Bilbao, Barça managed to find a fault in the last moments, that is too late. Well found on the left, Alejandro Baldé put a cross on the head of Roberto Lewandowski. Florian Lejeune tried to intervene and put the ball into his own net (82nd).
Good operation for Rayo
The end of the match was stormy, neither team was able to take the lead at the end. The Madrid club resisted the Catalan attacks until the end and will be satisfied with that. This well-deserved point gives them a temporary 8th place in the championship, ahead of Valencia and Las Palmas.
For their part, Barça can be blamed for not being able to find automaticity earlier in the match. The Blaugrana could surrender their place on the podium to Atlético Madrid at the end of this 14th day. In addition, the upcoming schedule is full for the current champions, because after Porto, the Colchoneros and the leading Girona are waiting for them. They will have to show a much better game if they want to win these two consecutive shocks.