Barcelona have lost a third La Liga game in the last four and continue to look helpless under manager Ronald Koeman thanks to a 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano in Madrid on Wednesday night. Barça were dominated in the first half, missed some golden chances in the second and couldn’t find a way to score against a newly promoted team, providing a new low in a truly depressing season.
One team was dominant, attack-minded, competitive, aggressive, looking to win every duel and score as many goals as possible. The other was Barcelona. It is remarkable how big the gap between the two teams was in the first half, and Rayo were the better side from beginning to end. They had more ideas on the ball and almost never suffered defensively, while Barça looked uninterested and lacking any intent to win the game.
Barça were slow in possession and easily lost balls in midfield which allowed Rayo to create their best chances, and that’s how they got their goal too: after Sergio Busquets took forever to make a pass and lost the ball to Óscar Trejo, Radamel Falcao was played through on goal and showed he is still a great striker, cutting to his left foot away from Gerard Piqué and finding the bottom corner with a sweet finish.
The visitors created their only opportunity of the half thanks to a brilliant individual move by Memphis Depay, who spun away from his defender and played a glorious cross to Sergiño Dest who was all alone three yards away from goal with no one in front of him... and sent the ball over the bar.
At halftime, Barça were being dominated in every aspect of the game and deserved to be losing. A lot needed to change for them to have any chance in the second half.
Barça did react in the second half with more intensity and attacking intent, and the Blaugrana had three big chances in the first 15 minutes of the period: Nico González missed a one-on-one with the keeper, and Sergio Agüero had two trademark Agüero chances inside the box but couldn’t score either.
The visitors continued to attack and look for an equalizer and earned a golden opportunity when Memphis went on a solo run and was brought down inside the box by Valentín. The Dutchman is usually automatic from the spot, but he picked the wrong night to take a truly awful penalty and Dimitrievski made the save.
Barça still had 20 minutes to try and score after the penalty miss, but desperation had already kicked in by then and the Blaugrana couldn’t show any poise or creativity with the ball, while Rayo were just waiting for one last chance to end the contest.
Despite EIGHT MINUTES of added time, Barça couldn’t come close to creating a chance to equalize in the final moments and the final whistle came to give Rayo a famous victory in front of the home crowd.
This is another depressing night for Barça and Ronald Koeman shouldn’t arrive back in the Barcelona airport as the manager, but we all know that’s going to happen so what’s even the point of caring anymore.
Rayo Vallecano: Dimitrievski; Balliu, Saveljich, Catena, García; Valentín (Mario 90’+2), Comesaña (López 63’); Palazón, Trejo (Ciss 76’), García; Falcao (Nteka 76’)
Goal: Falcao (30’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Demir 60’), Piqué, García, Alba; Nico (L. De Jong 84’), Busquets; Dest, Coutinho (Gavi 74’), Memphis; Agüero