Clubs

Barcelona have lost three consecutive home games in the same season for the first time in their illustrious history after slumping to a shock 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Alvaro Garcia struck the only goal of the game after just seven minutes, with Barcelona struggling to build attacking momentum during much of the contest. Still, Barca hit the woodwork toward the end of both halves, while Gavi had a strong penalty appeal rejected as the clock neared the 90-minute mark.

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Following home defeats against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League and against Cadiz in LaLiga on Monday, the club has now secured some most unwanted history. Barca previously lost three games in a row at Camp Nou in 1998 but that was split over two seasons.

The result also means 11th-placed Rayo have completed the league double over Barca for the first time, following their 1-0 home win in October.

Barcelona’s stuttering form has effectively ended their long-shot hopes of catching Real Madrid at the top of the standings and means their fierce rivals can now clinch the league title with either a draw or win at home to Espanyol on Saturday.

Barcelona remain second in the table, level on points with Sevilla and two points clear of Atletico Madrid. Xavi Hernandez’s side will still be looking somewhat nervously over their shoulders with fifth-placed Real Betis six points behind. Only the top four teams qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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