Barca slump continues as Valencia stun Nou Camp
Published 18/04/2016 | 02:30
Barcelona's stuttering Spanish title bid suffered another blow when they lost 2-1 at home to Valencia as they registered a third straight La Liga defeat for the first time since 2003.
Luis Enrique's shell-shocked side are level on 76 points with Atletico Madrid, who knocked the holders out of the Champions League in midweek, and remain top only due to a superior head-to-head record.
An own goal by Ivan Rakitic put Valencia ahead after 27 minutes and Santi Mina added a second just before half-time to stun the Barca supporters at the Nou Camp.
Lionel Messi scored his 500th career goal to reduce the deficit after 64 minutes but the hosts, who have squandered a nine-point lead, could not find an equaliser.
Gerard Pique agonisingly missed the target at the near post in stoppage time. Earlier, Atletico Madrid eased to a 3-0 home win over struggling Granada after Fernando Torres grabbed his fourth goal in as many games.
Spain international Koke opened the scoring after 15 minutes and then teed up Torres for the second in the 59th, while substitute Angel Correa rounded off the victory in the 83rd.
Real Madrid are hot on the heels of Barcelona and Atletico after five of their leading attacking lights got on the scoresheet in a 5-1 rout of Getafe on Saturday.
Karim Benzema, Isco, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo all scored as Madrid moved a point off the top.
Meanwhile, Juventus moved nine points clear at the top of Serie A after defeating Palermo 4-0 at home following goals from Sami Khedira, Paul Pogba, Juan Cuadrado and Simone Padoin.
Francesco Totti rolled back the years when he bagged a dramatic, late equaliser as AS Roma drew 3-3 at Atalanta to stretch their lead over fourth-placed Inter to four points.
There was bad news for their national team - and potentially good news for Euro 2016 opponents Ireland - after Claudio Marchisio ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee meaning the influential Juventus midfielder will miss the tournament.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Schalke 04 on Saturday edging them closer to the Bundesliga title.
Borussia Dortmund maintained some hope yesterday when they closed the gap to seven points by bouncing back from their Europa League defeat to Liverpool with a 3-0 victory over Hamburg.