First Division - Day 21

Rayo Vallecano 2 - Barcelona 1

Rayo: Imanol Etxeberria; Ferrón (Corino 83'), Mainz, De Quintana, Alcázar; Quevedo, Pablo Sanz; Peragón, Michel (Helder 90'), Arteaga; Bolic (Glaucio 80'). 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Reina; Puyol, Christanval, Frank De Boer, Sergi; Gabri (Rochemback 61'), Xavi, Cocu (Gerard 70'); Kluivert; Saviola (Geovanni 80'), Rivaldo. 4-3-1-2.

Team changes: Rayo: Ferrón, Arteaga, Bolic for Graff, Baljic, Bolo / Barcelona: No change.

1-0. 25. Bolic. Cut in from left of area and shot across Reina into top of net.
1-1. 55. Xavi. Long first time lob back over keeper after headed clearance.
2-1. 60. De Quintana. Header over Reina from left of goal after Quevedo cross.

Barcelona's brief revival was cut short by bottom club Rayo Vallecano who deservedly beat then 2-1 in front of a capacity crowd in Vallecas. Rexach lined up the same side which had beaten Zaragoza and Sevilla in the last two games, but this time Charly's Angels put in a less than heavenly performance. Gregorio Manzano brought back Bolic up front, and the Bosnian striker took his opportunity, opening the scoring with an individualist goal midway through the first half. With Xavi and Rivaldo marked out of the game Barcelona had no playmakers, and their first real shot at goal came from a Rivaldo free kick just before half time. They started to see more of the ball though, and ten minutes after the restart Xavi equalised with a first time lofted shot over Etxeberria's head after the keeper came out of his area to head the ball clear.

Five minutes later though Rayo were back in front when De Quintana headed home a long cross from the right wing, Reina hesitating and getting caught stranded in the middle of his goal. Rexach made his usual changes without much effect, and Saviola wasted the best chance of the match with the goal at his mercy twenty minutes from the end. Manzano used up the last few minutes bringing on his substitutes, and Glaucio delighted the crowd pushing the ball through Frank De Boer's legs twice in a row before the final whistle blew. With their pyrrhic cup victory on Wednesday, Rayo have now beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona in the space of four days, and a win next Wednesday in the postponed league match against Alavés will take them off the bottom of the table above Real Sociedad. Barcelona lost for the first time in Vallecas since 1978, when by coincidence manager Charly Rexach was playing in the Catalan side. They lose more ground on leaders Real Madrid, now six points clear of them, although poor results by the teams around them mean that for the time being at least they stay in sixth place.