With seven games left in the championship, Barça leads with 76 points, 11 points ahead of second-place Real Madrid, which was also stunned 4-2 against Girona on Tuesday. Rayo Vallecano is in ninth place with 43 points, four points behind their place in European qualification.
Rayo stopped Barça’s seven-match unbeaten streak in the league by showing courage in front of their fans at a packed Estadio de Vallecas.
They were the better side for most of the match against a sloppy Barça and opened the scoring in the 19th minute after Sergio Camelo challenged Gavi and quickly passed the ball to Alvaro García, who shot irresistibly from low past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The hosts continued to press and missed a couple of chances, but got spooked when Robert Lewandowski scored a goal in the 40th minute that would have tied the score, but his shot was cancelled after VAR replay showed he was slightly offside.
In the second half, Rayo took the lead again and increased their lead in the 52nd minute thanks to a great effort by Fran Garcia, who took the ball from Franky de Jong in midfield and broke through the heart of the Barça defense, shooting past Ter Stegen.
Camelo missed another great chance in the 64th minute, and a little later Unai Lopez missed another opportunity to increase Rayo’s lead.
However, Barça reduced the deficit thanks to Lewandowski, who picked up a loose ball in the penalty area and poked it into the net in the 83rd minute.
However, it was only consolation as Rayo held on to win.
Rayo played a great game. They deserved to win and we underperformed today, defender Ronald Araujo told DAZN.
The good thing is that we have the advantage in the standings and the next two games we play at home, now it’s our turn to play at home.