April 20

Barcelona loses again at home, Madrid 1 point from title

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  • Barcelona's team players walk after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s team players walk after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s head coach Xavi Hernandez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's Luuk de Jong, centre, reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s Luuk de Jong, centre, reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's Ronald Araujo, centre, challenges for the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo, centre, challenges for the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's Gavi, centre, and Rayo's Alejandro Catena, top, challenge for the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s Gavi, centre, and Rayo’s Alejandro Catena, top, challenge for the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Rayo's Fran Garcia, centre, and Randy Nteka, right, celebrate after Alvaro Garcia, left, scored the opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Rayo’s Fran Garcia, centre, and Randy Nteka, right, celebrate after Alvaro Garcia, left, scored the opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Rayo's team players celebrate after Alvaro Garcia, left, scored the opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Rayo’s team players celebrate after Alvaro Garcia, left, scored the opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s head coach Xavi Hernandez during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele, centre, reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, centre, reacts after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 24, 2022.

    Associated Press

  • MADRID — Barcelona lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday for an unprecedented third straight home defeat, leaving Real Madrid a point away from clinching the Spanish league title.

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    It was the first time Barcelona had lost three in a row at home in all competitions in the same season, prompting some boos from the crowd at the Camp Nou stadium after the final whistle.

    League leader Madrid will have its first chance of lifting the league trophy for the second time in three years next Saturday when it hosts Espanyol. Madrid is 15 points ahead of second-place Barcelona with five rounds to go. The Catalan club has the better head-to-head tiebreaker.

    Barcelona had won seven straight home matches in the league against Rayo, which scored the winner with a shot by Álvaro García after a long pass into the area in the seventh minute.

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    The loss left Barcelona tied on points with third-place Sevilla and only two points ahead of Atlético Madrid in the final Champions League spot. Securing second place is also important as it guarantees a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

    Barcelona was coming off defeats against Cádiz in the league and Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. It hadn’t lost two in a row at home since 2003, and had lost three straight only once, between the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

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    It was the second straight win for Rayo after enduring a 13-game winless streak in the league. The Madrid club moved from 15th to 11th with the victory, its second this season against Barcelona. Rayo’s win on Thursday also came in the city of Barcelona, at Espanyol.

    Only Bayern Munich had beaten Barcelona twice this season, in the group stage of the Champions League.

    The match was postponed from January. No other league games were played this weekend. Real Betis defeated Valencia on penalties on Saturday to win the Copa del Rey.

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    More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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    Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

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