Relegation-threatened Real Valladolid snatched a 3-1 win at home against champions Barcelona on Tuesday as the hosts secured a crucial victory in their battle to remain in LaLiga.
The win moved Valladolid up one place to 17th and out of the relegation zone, before the club owned by former Real Madrid and Brazil forward Ronaldo face Almeria and Getafe, who are also battling to avoid the drop, in their remaining two games.
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Barcelona, who sealed their 27th LaLiga title earlier this month, fell behind when defender Andreas Christensen scored an own goal, heading past his own keeper in the second minute while trying to clear a cross into the box.
Valladolid were awarded a penalty for Eric Garcia‘s tackle on Gonzalo Plata shortly after and Cyle Larin finished from the spot before Plata made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute, with the goal awarded after a VAR check for a potential offside.
Despite having already clinched the title for the first time since 2019, Raphinha was disappointed with his team’s effort and suggested it was their duty to play the remaining games of the season at a higher level.
“This can’t happen, without taking anything away from Valladolid,” Raphinha said. “We lacked a lot tonight, I would say mainly character was missing. We have to change things because there are two games left still. We have to honour the club in these remaining games and step up.”
Raphinha showed a message of support for Vinicius Junior, his teammate with Brazil who was the target of racist abuse from Valencia supporters during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Mestalla on Sunday. The message was on Raphinha’s undershirt and was revealed when he removed his jersey after being substituted in the second half. It read: “As long as the color of the skin is more important than the glow of the eyes, there will be war” and “Vini, I’m with you.”
Players from both teams held a banner before the match with the words “racists out of football,” which is one of the slogans of a campaign against racism launched jointly by the Spanish league, Spanish federation and the government’s top sports authority.
Anti-racism slogans were also shown during the national and international broadcast of the game.
Robert Lewandowski did manage to pull one back for Barcelona six minutes from time as LaLiga’s top scorer lifted his tally to 23 goals this season, with manager Xavi Hernandez admitting it was hard to find the proper motivation at this point in such a long season.
“I have to understand that the players have made a huge effort this season,” Xavi said. “Many were also at the World Cup midseason and it takes its toll. We have hit our targets, winning LaLiga and the Super Cup, but these games also count and we wanted to show up, which we didn’t tonight.
“I don’t like losing and that is two defeats in a row. On Sunday, in front of our fans, we have to get back to our best.”
Earlier on Tuesday fourth-placed Real Sociedad beat Almeria 1-0 and the Basque side can secure a Champions League spot for next season on Wednesday if Villarreal, in fifth, drop points at home against Cadiz.