(CTN News) – Barcelona managed to secure a 1-1 draw in Madrid on Saturday, thanks to an own goal by Rayo Vallecano defender Florian Lejeune in the final minutes of the game.
The hosts took the lead in the 39th minute with a long-range shot from Rayo midfielder Unai López at Vallecas Stadium.
Barcelona struggled to break through until the latter stages of the second half. Shortly after substitute, Raphinha hit the post, Lejeune unintentionally redirected a cross from Alejandro Balde, intended for Robert Lewandowski, into his own net in the 82nd minute.
As a result of the draw, Barcelona currently sits in third place in the Spanish league standings. Girona, the league leader, is three points ahead of Barcelona and will face Athletic Bilbao on Monday. Meanwhile, Real Madrid, in second place, holds a one-point advantage over and will be visiting Cadiz on Sunday.
Rayo has managed to maintain an unbeaten record against Barcelona in their previous five encounters, despite operating on a limited budget. Rayo emerged victorious in three of these matches and settled for a draw in the remaining two. The last time Barcelona secured a win against Rayo was in January 2021 during the Copa del Rey tournament.
In their recent match, Barcelona had to navigate without the presence of midfielder Gavi Páez, who unfortunately suffered an ACL injury while representing Spain last week.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong expressed his disappointment with the team’s performance, stating they did not play up to their potential. Despite starting in his first game since recovering from a muscle injury that had kept him out since September, de Jong admitted that he did not feel sharp.
He acknowledged that injuries have been a challenge for the team, but emphasized the importance of working hard.
López, whose Rayo moved into eighth place, acknowledged that in the first half, they were dominant, but their performance waned a bit afterward due to the strength of the opposing team.
Goalkeeper Iñaki Peña, who substituted for the injured Marc-Andre ter Stegen, made his season debut but unfortunately couldn’t make a save against López’s exceptional long-range volley.