Barcelona salvaged a point with a 1-1 draw away to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday thanks to a late second-half goal from defender Florian Lejeune.
The Spanish League champions are third in the standings with 31 points, one point behind second-placed Real Madrid and three points behind surprise leaders Girona, each with a game in hand.
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Affected by injuries to key players such as goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Javi, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Spain’s win over Georgia, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez made six changes to the selection of the team that fought back to a 2-1 win over the lowly side. Alaves in their previous match but his team continued to struggle.
Rayo started the match on top and outplayed last season’s champions throughout the first half before opening the scoring with a stunning shot from long range by midfielder Unai Lopez in the 39th minute.
Barcelona came back strong after the break and eventually equalized thanks to a mistake by Rayo Legon defender, who sent the ball into his own net with the tip of his boot while trying to clear a cross in the 82nd minute.
Midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who returned to the starting lineup after missing ten matches due to injury, told Movistar Plus: “We did not play well, we were not at our level. We have to work harder.”
“We have a good team, the plan is good, everyone is running as best they can, but we have to be consistent. We have a lot of injuries, it’s true, but there is still a lot of season left to recover.”