Barça has definitely given up fighting for the League . The defeat against Rayo Vallecano (0-1) , second in a row at the Camp Nou after that against Cádiz six days earlier, means that Real Madrid is worth one point to be champion, which could happen on Saturday at the Bernabéu against the Spanish. A goal from Álvaro García and the offensive impotence of the azulgranas has left the fight for the title in sight.
Xavi gave Piqué and Dani Alves a rest, and the Blaugrana team began to command the pitch, with Dembélé insistently trying for his wing, as is usual for him. However, it was the Rayistas who struck first thanks to a play by their two most talented players. Isi Palazón left several past the center of the field, turned and found Álvaro García in space, whose shot –despite being with his less good leg, the right one– slipped in close to the post closest to Ter Stegen.
The goal seemed to leave something touched to a Barça that reproduced the ghosts of Cádiz, who had won at the Camp Nou six days before. And the whistles appeared in a dissatisfied Camp Nou. A shot by Araujo that was too focused after a commotion in the area was an insufficient response from Xavi’s men.
The passing of the minutes cornered Rayo, with more and more problems getting out of their field. And the chances were getting clearer. A shot by Jordi Alba with his right foot from the edge of the box grazed the post in the clearest of the azulgranas.
Barça had it again shortly after, again with luck eluding their interests. After a corner, Gavi picked up the ball in the area and his hit, placed, crashed into the crossbar . Ferran Torres later finished off the goal, but was clearly offside.
With a strange change at half-time (Lenglet for Dest, passing Araujo to the right side), Barça started the game again very disconnected, without ideas, without knowing how to create real danger for a brave Rayo who did not want to lock himself up for the entire second half.
Ramos and Piqué, in a Clásico.
Nervousness came with the passing of the minutes, and Depay’s entry reactivated the Barça attack. A shot from the Dutchman met a Rayista player, who prevented the goal. And another one with an inspired Dimitrievski.
With 20 minutes to go, Xavi pulled his usual plan B: the rescuer Luuk de Jong and the incisive Adama to the field. The forward tried it with a Chilean, but before him Isi appeared, who ended up taking a strong kick to the head.
The expected siege of the final minutes arrived. Barça demanded a penalty on Gavi for a push in the area and Dimitrievski made two great saves on Depay before added time arrived, which were no less than 11 minutes. Xavi’s men tried it on the right and on the left, hanging one ball after another, but without success. And the goal almost came for Rayo in another great play by Álvaro García, but Pathé Ciss found the post . Dembélé also had it, but under the sticks a defender saved. End of the match… and virtually the fight for the League title.