Barcelona snatched a late equaliser as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano.

Florian Lejeune’s late own goal rescued a point for Xavi’s side but their slip-up opened the door for Real Madrid and surprise leaders Girona to extend their advantage in the title race.

Vallecano made most of the running in the first period and got their reward with a stunning Unai Lopez volley in the 39th minute.

Barcelona went in search of an equaliser in the second period as chances from Pedri, Ferran Torres and Joao Cancelo all went begging but Lejeune’s 82nd-minute own goal gave the Catalan giants a reprieve.

Vallecano made a bright start and had the first chance of the game but Isi Palazon’s effort from outside the area flew over the crossbar.

Palazon proved to be a menace and tried his luck again a couple of minutes later but his drilled effort was parried by Inaki Pena before the goalkeeper grabbed at the second attempt.

Barcelona failed to make an impression in the opening stages but had their first shot on target in the 28th minute when Lamine Yamal rode the challenge of three defenders into the area before smashing straight into the hands of Stole Dimitrievski.

Vallecano were straight back on the front foot and threatened to break the deadlock but Lopez’s goalbound effort was blocked by Andreas Christensen.

The home side’s deserved lead came in the 38th minute in superb fashion as Oscar Trejo’s initial effort was blocked out to Lopez, who smashed in on the volley from distance past the diving Pena.

Vallecano were inches away from doubling their advantage as Jorge De Frutos fizzed a ball into the six-yard box, which needed to be cleared by Alejandro Balde to keep the deficit to just one at the break.

Barcelona started the second half with much more intent than the first and came close to levelling things up but Cancelo’s curling effort from outside the area lifted just over the bar.

Chances began to come freely for the away side as Oriol Romeu’s cross found Ferran Torres free in space but his effort went straight to Dimitrievski.

Two minutes later another glorious opportunity came and went when Robert Lewandowski’s cross found Pedri in the six-yard area but he nodded over with the goal at his mercy.

With 15 minutes to go, the Barcelona pressure was now relentless and they were denied an equaliser by the woodwork when Raphinha’s shot from range crashed off the post.

But Barcelona had their equaliser in the 82nd minute as Lewandowski sent a ball across the box and Lejeune stuck a foot out but could only turn into his own goal.

Defender Alejandro Balde is confident Barcelona can end their Rayo Vallecano “curse” on Saturday.

The reigning LaLiga champions have not beaten Rayo in four attempts and will hope to put the record straight when they head for the Estadio de Vallecas this weekend.

Balde told the club’s official website: “This is an important match for the team. We haven’t beaten Rayo Vallecano for two years and I think a win on Saturday will break the curse of not winning.

“The start of the season was good. We are in third place in the league and we are already close to qualifying for [the knockout stage of] the Champions League.

“We are four points away from the top, but the season is still long and anything can happen.”

Three of those four winless games against Rayo have come since Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman at the helm in November 2021.

Barca go into the game having lost two of their last four in all competitions, a 2-1 El Clasico defeat by Real Madrid and a shock 1-0 Champions League reverse at Shakhtar Donetsk, but lying third in the table two points behind Real and four adrift of leaders Girona.

However, they do so having lost the services of 19-year-old midfield star Gavi, who is not expected to play again this season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage on international duty with Spain.

Frenkie De Jong is closing in on a return from an ankle injury which has sidelined him since the end of September, while keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a doubt.

Asked about Gavi, Balde said: “I send him a lot of support. It is a very difficult and long injury, and the most important thing is for him to be patient because he must recover well because the team will need him.

“We are losing a great player, a key player in the team, we are losing his ferocity.”


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Rayo, who have won only one of their last eight league games, but drawn six of them, complete a run of fixtures against the top three which has seen them draw 0-0 at Real Madrid before losing 2-1 at home to Girona despite taking an early lead.

Manager Francisco told a press conference: “We respect our rival a lot. They are one of the best in Europe and the world.

“We have to do what we have been doing, be brave and try to take advantage of the moments we have.”

Girona came from behind to win 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, continuing their unlikely charge at the top of LaLiga.

Alvaro Garcia gave hosts Rayo a fifth-minute advantage that threatened to halt Girona's fine recent momentum.

But left-footed goals from Artem Dovbyk and Savio either side of half-time gave Michel's men a fifth straight victory.

After finishing 10th last season, Girona have now won 12, drawn one and lost just one of their first 14 matches in a fantastic start to the 2023-24 campaign, their only defeat coming against Real Madrid in September.

They have moved five points clear of second-placed Madrid – who have a game in hand against Valencia later on Saturday – and sit 10 points clear of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao in the race for Champions League qualification.

There could easily have been more goals in the contest at Estadio de Vallecas, as free-flowing Girona racked up a stunning expected goals total of 4.64, while Rayo generated 1.69 as the two teams combined for 41 shots during an end-to-end battle.

Girona's latest comeback means they have now won 16 points from losing positions in LaLiga this season, more than any other team. Their next game is at home to Athletic after the international break.

Fast fact: Girona posting elite numbers

With 11 league wins in LaLiga, Girona are the team with the most victories this season across Europe's big five leagues.

They have scored 31 goals in top-flight play, which is second only to Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich, who had 38 going into their own match with Heidenheim this weekend.

Real Madrid failed to return to the top of LaLiga after being held to a goalless draw by city rivals Rayo Vallecano.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side need to take all three points to edge ahead of Girona on goal difference, but could not break down their stubborn opponents despite dominating possession at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Vinicius Jr did have the ball in the net midway through the second half, only for his effort to be ruled out due to Joselu being offside in the build-up.

Rayo Vallecano have now gone eight games without defeat in LaLiga, although six of those have been draws, and they never threatened to claim a first win at the Bernabeu since 1996.

The home side should have taken the lead with just five minutes gone when Federico Valverde pounced on a loose pass to surge into the area, only for the Uruguay international to hit his shot straight at goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.

Bellingham, who was presented with his LaLiga player of the month award for October before kick-off, had a shot blocked from the resulting corner but soon had the Real fans holding their breath as he landed awkwardly on his left shoulder after attempting to chest the ball to a team-mate.

The 20-year-old looked in severe pain as he received treatment for more than two minutes, but was thankfully able to continue.

An uncharacteristic mistake from Luke Modric gifted the visitors a rare sight of goal on 15 minutes, only for Alvaro Garcia to drag his left-footed effort badly wide and the action soon switched back to the other end as Joselu sent a glancing header wide from a Modric corner.

Joselu and Fran Garcia both had shots off target before the former brought a superb save out of Dimitrievski with a first-time effort after being set up by Vinicius, while Bellingham produced a deft turn on the edge of area to beat two defenders before firing over the bar.

Vinicius should have opened the scoring almost immediately after the restart but failed to connect with a delightful cross from Modric, who curled the ball to the back post with the outside of his right foot.

And when Vinicius finally did find the target on 66 minutes the goal was disallowed due to Joselu being in an offside position when he flicked the ball on to his team-mate.

The home side continued to press forward but Dimitrievski was forced into action on few occasions and easily gathered a tame effort from substitute Rodrygo in the third of seven minutes of added time.

Vinicius Junior watched on from the stands as his fellow Brazilian Rodrygo sealed a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid against Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga.

Madrid winger Vinicius was racially abused by Valencia supporters during Los Blancos' defeat at Mestalla Stadium on Sunday, with the winger then sent off.

With that red card rescinded, injury kept Vinicius from featuring against Rayo on Wednesday, though Karim Benzema's finish had seemingly set Madrid on their way to a comfortable victory.

Raul de Tomas' excellent strike pegged Madrid back, but Rodrygo lashed home in the 89th minute to lift Los Blancos, temporarily at least, into second place.

Rayo were the more threatening in the opening exchanges – Alvaro Garcia heading over between Unai Lopez and Santi Comesana forcing Thibaut Courtois into action.

Yet Madrid went ahead just after the half-hour mark as Rayo were caught napping at a drop-ball, which was taken quickly by Toni Kroos. Federico Valverde and Benzema combined brilliantly to put the latter through and, after coolly rounding Stole Dimitrievski, he tucked home.

Moments after an untimely slip from Rodrygo saw a golden chance go begging for Madrid, Dimitrievski brilliantly denied Benzema a second, instinctively sticking out a hand to keep a close-range shot out.

Dani Carvajal volleyed wide from Luka Modric's chip as Madrid looked to put the game to bed, a wise decision given their record of two defeats from their previous four meetings with Rayo.

Madrid's failure to add to their lead looked to have proved costly with six minutes remaining, substitute De Tomas thumping in a brilliant equaliser.

But Rodrygo had the last laugh with his powerful last-gasp strike, with the 22-year-old raising his right fist in a celebration synonymous with the "black power" salute.

Xavi said there could be "no excuses" for Barcelona's meek 2-1 defeat to Rayo Vallecano, which saw the Blaugrana miss the chance to go 14 points clear at the top of LaLiga. 

Barca look destined to end their four-year wait for a league title in the coming weeks, and Real Madrid's 4-2 defeat at Girona on Tuesday gave them the opportunity to pull further clear. 

However, goals from Alvaro Garcia and Fran Garcia handed Rayo a deserved victory, with Robert Lewandowski's late volley proving to be a mere consolation.

Barca have only lost three league games all season, but the Blaugrana have now taken just five points from the last 12 available to them in LaLiga, leaving Xavi to rue a missed opportunity.

"We didn't have a good game, we weren't comfortable. They were very intense and aggressive and they didn't let us play," Xavi said.

"We lacked understanding of the game, we abused long passes. There are no excuses, Rayo deserved to win. 

"We tried with courage until the end, but they deserved the victory. We have a margin and there is one less game left.

"We have to think about Saturday. The message to the players is that the league has not been won. It costs a lot to win this league and every game away from home is a war. 

"This defeat weighs us down and annoys us. Today we failed and we are leaving annoyed because it was a very good opportunity."

Having lost on their last league trip to Rayo in October 2021, Barca have now suffered back-to-back defeats in Vallecas for just the second time in their history, also doing so in December 2002.

Defender Ronald Araujo believed the hosts warranted their win, saying: "Rayo deserved the victory. They played well.

"In the first half we weren't up to it, but we still have a good points advantage. Now we have two home games that we have to win."

Barca welcome Real Betis to Camp Nou in their next game on Saturday, holding an 11-point lead over Madrid at the top of LaLiga and requiring a maximum of 11 more points to clinch the title.

Barcelona missed the chance to go 14 points clear at the top of LaLiga as goals from Alvaro Garcia and Fran Garcia fired Rayo Vallecano to a 2-1 win over the below-par leaders.

Real Madrid's 4-2 defeat at Girona on Tuesday gave Barca the chance to pull further clear at the summit, but Xavi's men started slowly and soon found themselves behind to Alvaro Garcia's low drive.

Barca's woes were deepened when Fran Garcia broke clear to finish after the break, and although Robert Lewandowski halved the deficit late on, the visitors were unable to find a leveller.

Boasting an 11-point lead over Madrid, Barca still appear destined to win their first league title since 2019, but the Catalan giants have dropped points in three of their last four games after another flat performance.

The first big chance fell to Rayo 17 minutes in, Sergio Camello bursting through after Pedri was caught in possession, only to be denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen when one on one.

Ter Stegen was unable to save Barca two minutes later, Alvaro Garcia drilling into the bottom-right corner after being found by Camello on the left-hand side of the area.

Stole Dimitrievski preserved Rayo's lead by smothering Lewandowski's dinked attempt, and the hosts escaped again on the stroke of half-time, as a VAR review confirmed an on-field decision to disallow the striker's left-footed finish for offside.

Barca found themselves 2-0 down seven minutes after the restart as Fran Garcia – who is set to re-join former club Real Madrid at the end of the season – raced clear to side-foot calmly under Ter Stegen.

Lewandowski ensured a nervy finish when he volleyed into the top-right corner after Ansu Fati's shot deflected into his path, but Rayo held on to claim a surprise victory.

Real Madrid have agreed a deal with Rayo Vallecano that will see left-back Fran Garcia return to the Santiago Bernabeu later this year.

The 23-year-old initially left the current LaLiga champions on loan during the 2020-21 season, before signing permanently for Rayo ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

However, with interest from Bayer Leverkusen and Premier League teams in January, Carlo Ancelotti's side exercised their first refusal option, meaning the defender will return to Madrid after the conclusion of this season in a deal worth €5million.

Speaking to Cadena COPE radio, Rayo president Raul Martin Presa lauded Madrid’s decision to let Garcia see out the season with his side, despite a recent injury to Madrid's first-choice left-back Ferland Mendy.

"Madrid have behaved like gentlemen," he said. "They could have [taken him] now, especially with the situation they have with Mendy, but we spoke to them and out of respect to Rayo, to not hurt Rayo, they've behaved like gentlemen.

"They've avoided that he goes to Leverkusen, in their own interests obviously, because they think he's a player who can help them."

Madrid academy product Garcia has impressed greatly since joining Rayo, starting 34 LaLiga games last season and all 19 games so far this season.

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the officials after Real Madrid's 3-2 loss at Rayo Vallecano, putting Monday's defeat down to a "bad game".

Oscar Trejo scored the winner for Roya with a retaken second-half penalty, converted after the VAR penalised Dani Carvajal for encroachment, to condemn Madrid to their first defeat in LaLiga this season.

Los Blancos trail Barcelona by two points at the top-flight summit after just their second loss to Rayo in 21 league games.

Madrid are also without a win in their last two LaLiga outings after a 1-1 draw with Girona and coach Ancelotti acknowledged his side struggled at Vallecas.

"We knew they played like that, they were more forceful than us in the duels. It was a bad game, that's it," the Italian said.

"It cost us. We had to change our strategy and we didn't. Then, in the duels, we lost a lot when we were not capable of being as forceful as our opponent.

"Vinicius [Junior] missed two or three shots that he normally scores. [Marco] Asensio has done well. It hasn't been a good game for us."

Madrid profited from a touchline review in the first half, with referee Juan Martinez Munuera deeming Asensio to have been felled by Fran Garcia inside the area before Luka Modric converted to equalise following Santiago Comesana's opener.

But Ancelotti's side were on the receiving end of overturned decisions in the second half after referee Munuera again consulted the screen to give a penalty for handball against Carvajal for Trejo's winner.

Despite the contentious decision for the winning goal, Ancelotti insisted he had no complaints towards Munuera as he acknowledged the role the VAR can play in the decisions.

Asked about the referee, Ancelotti said: "I have no opinion, none. VAR is involved in these things.

"We lacked freshness and it's normal after so many games... We have to make an evaluation of this first part of the season, we've done well.

"We're in the Champions League last 16 and we're doing well in LaLiga."

Madrid host Cadiz on Thursday in their final game before the November break for the World Cup in Qatar.

Thibaut Courtois expressed his frustration at Real Madrid conceding "too many silly goals" after falling to their first LaLiga defeat of the season in a 3-2 loss at Rayo Vallecano.

Santiago Comesana netted a fifth-minute opener on Monday against Madrid, who have kept just two clean sheets in their first 13 LaLiga games, their lowest tally at this stage of a season since 2013-14.

Luka Modric's penalty and Eder Militao's header gave Madrid the lead before Alvaro Garcia's first-half equaliser, and Carlo Ancelotti's side were left frustrated by a contentious Oscar Trejo winner after the interval.

Trejo scored a retaken penalty after Dani Carvajal was penalised for encroachment following Courtois' initial spot-kick save, but the Madrid goalkeeper acknowledged his side were far from their best after the defeat.

"Rayo are having a great season, we knew it was going to be difficult, and we weren't up to the task in the first half," the Belgium international said.

"We conceded too many silly goals, due to mistakes or not being 100 per cent in the match.

"Then the penalty, bad luck. The referee told me that because of Carvajal, that's what they told him in the VAR, that he gets into the area earlier.

"Then I wanted to stay in the centre, but I threw myself and I had a better corner than the one I stopped. It's a shame, I saved the penalty and in the end everything changes. I hope it's our only defeat in LaLiga.

"With so many games, it may be normal that we are tired. The draw against Girona was more bad luck. Today was not our best day and Rayo played well."

While Courtois refused to criticise referee Juan Martinez Munuera, Madrid team-mate Lucas Vazquez questioned why the VAR and officials have not been as "rigorous" in other games this season.

"It was a complicated game, they got ahead very quickly, and although we turned it around, they equalised again and that hurt us," Vazquez said.

"It was difficult for us to find our football, and Rayo is a complicated team that today has been very good.

"But they [the referee and the VAR] send Trejo to shoot again and in other games they don't, they should always be just as rigorous."

Madrid trail LaLiga leaders Barcelona by two points and host Cadiz on Thursday in their last game before the World Cup break.

Oscar Trejo scored the winner with a contentious second-half penalty as Real Madrid missed the chance to return to the LaLiga summit after falling to a 3-2 defeat at Rayo Vallecano.

Carlo Ancelotti's side trail leaders Barcelona by two points after losing at Vallecas, where referee Juan Martinez Munuera and the VAR played a significant part on Monday.

Luka Modric's penalty and an Eder Militao header had put Madrid into the lead after Santiago Comesana's opener, before Alvaro Garcia equalised during a breathless first half.

Yet there was to be more drama when Dani Carvajal was deemed to have encroached as Thibaut Courtois saved a 67th-minute penalty from Trejo, who converted the retake to secure victory.

Comesana fired Rayo into a fifth-minute lead after angling a first-time left-footed shot past Courtois following Fran Garcia's whipped left-wing cross.

Martínez Munuera gave a 37th-minute penalty to Madrid after consulting the touchline monitor following a tangle of legs that saw Marco Asensio felled by Fran Garcia, with Modric coolly converting down the middle from the spot.

Militao directed a header into the bottom-left corner from Asensio's inswinging corner to give Madrid the lead, only for Alvaro Garcia to power a left-footed strike past Courtois to equalise three minutes later.

Courtois saved Trejo's penalty after Carvajal was adjudged to have handled in the second half – again following a review of the touchline monitor – but the Madrid right-back was penalised for encroachment, allowing the Rayo midfielder to find the bottom-right corner at the second attempt.

That was to prove the winner, although Madrid almost salvaged a draw when Rodrygo spurned a glorious 89th-minute chance, turning over Asensio's centre.

What does it mean? Madrid slip up again

With Liverpool confirmed as their next Champions League opponents in the last 16, reigning European and Spanish champions Madrid will have to improve both domestically and on the continent after faltering in back-to-back LaLiga games.

A 1-1 draw against Girona coupled with only Rayo's second win against Madrid in 21 LaLiga attempts will leave Ancelotti much to ponder with a game to go before November's World Cup break.

Andoni Iraola will have much to celebrate, though, despite his second-half dismissal for dissent, after Rayo won three league games in a row for just a second time under his stewardship.

Classy Comesana

Comesana appeared to be everywhere for Rayo against Madrid, scoring the opening goal with a coolly taken finish that belied his defensive-midfield position.

The Rayo man was a dominant force in the middle of the park as well, though, creating three chances and regaining possession eight times – both game-leading figures in just 79 minutes.

Defensive issues for Madrid

Madrid often relied on late fightbacks on their way to Champions League and LaLiga glory last season, perhaps masking their defensive issues.

But Los Blancos have come unstuck this term after keeping just two clean sheets in their first 13 LaLiga games, their lowest tally at this stage of a season since 2013-14 – also under Ancelotti.

What's next?

Madrid host Cadiz on Thursday in their last game before the World Cup break, while Rayo are at home to Celta Vigo on the same day.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone felt his side paid the price for "not being forceful" enough as a 92nd-minute Radamel Falcao penalty earned Rayo Vallecano a late 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Alvaro Morata's first-half strike looked to be enough to give Atletico their fourth straight LaLiga win, despite missing a number of chances to add a second goal.

They were left to rue not taking those opportunities, as the referee awarded a penalty after Jose Gimenez handled in the box from Randy Nteka's header, before Falcao fired home the penalty to deny his former side the win.

Simeone was frustrated over his side's inability to kill the game off, telling reporters: "We had good goal situations to score the second and close out the match.

"The second was not scored and we remain in a situation in which they can equalise.

"In the second half we had a lot of counter-attacks to finish the game, we didn't convert the much-needed second goal and we lost two important points."

The two dropped points Simeone referenced would have put Atletico just three points behind leaders Real Madrid, and the 52-year-old feels his players must be more ruthless in future.

When asked what his team did wrong against Rayo, Simeone replied: "Not being forceful.

"If you come up against the goalkeeper several times, it has to be a goal.

"You have to improve the forcefulness and train it and when that situation appears, there is the mettle to finish."

Radamel Falcao's 92nd-minute penalty frustrated former club Atletico Madrid as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday.

Atletico looked to be on course for a fourth straight LaLiga win after Alvaro Morata netted a first-time finish from their only shot on target of the opening 45 minutes.

Diego Simeone's men protected that advantage until the final seconds of normal time, when Jose Gimenez handled and then, following a short delay, Falcao netted from the spot.

A point at home leaves Atletico still third, but they lost further ground on champions and leaders Real Madrid, who are five points better off with a game in hand.

Atletico were ahead within 20 minutes, Antoine Griezmann winning the ball high up the pitch before delivering an inch-perfect cross to Morata, who exquisitely swept past Stole Dimitrievski.

Axel Witsel then dragged a shot wide of the left post as Simeone's side looked to add a quick second, but Rayo improved as the half continued, and Ivan Balliu stung the palms of Ivo Grbic with a fierce drive before the break.

Pathe Ciss had a decent chance to level soon after the interval but could only head wide, before Morata nodded off target at the other end.

Sergio Camello sent a low effort agonisingly past the right post as Rayo pushed for an equaliser, and it appeared as though Grbic's save from Falcao when one-on-one would deny the visitors.

However, Gimenez handled from Randy Nteka's header with time almost up, allowing Falcao to snatch a point against his old side.

Spain striker Raul de Tomas has agreed to return to Rayo Vallecano after a deal was confirmed with Espanyol.

The 27-year-old spent two seasons on loan at Estadio de Vallecas from Real Madrid between 2017 and 2019, before making a permanent move to Benfica, and then Espanyol.

However, as his move back to Vallecano has been completed outside the transfer and registration window, the player cannot feature for his new team until January. A lack of match action in the coming months means it is unlikely De Tomas will be named in the Spain squad for the World Cup later this year.

De Tomas – who has four caps for La Roja –scored 17 goals in 34 LaLiga appearances for Espanyol last season, but was keen to move to Vallecano before the transfer window closed.

That was not possible as negotiations stuttered, though they continued after the window closed, even leading to the player's agent Ivan Garcia being accused of headbutting Vallecano's president Raul Martin Presa, with the club releasing a statement on Saturday saying: "Ivan Garcia assaulted Raul Martin Presa, hitting him in the face with his head on Thursday night.

"Precisely because he was attacked, Raul Martin Presa called the police, went to the emergency room of a hospital centre to receive medical assistance and immediately filed a complaint against Ivan Garcia at the police station."

Nevertheless, Vallecano announced on Tuesday that a deal had been agreed to sign De Tomas, with reports suggesting the fee to be around €8million, with a further €3m in add-ons, and the club confirmed he had signed until 2027.

That falls some way short of Espanyol's supposed initial valuation of €30m, but the writing seemed to be on the wall when the player fell out with head coach Diego Martinez, and he has not featured for the Periquitos this season.

De Tomas made his Spain debut last November in the 1-0 win away to Greece in World Cup qualifying, and has since played for the national team against Sweden, Portugal and Czech Republic.

Barcelona's 2022-23 season got off to a slow start with a goalless draw against Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou.

After finally registering their new recruits on Friday, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha were handed debuts from the start, but could not provide the difference in a tame display that saw Sergio Busquets sent off late on.

Stole Dimitrievski was forced into action on several occasions but was never really tested, while Marc Andre ter Stegen had to be alert at the other end to prevent a third consecutive defeat to the Madrid outfit.

Barcelona came closest through Lewandowski, who saw a debut goal chalked off and hit another late effort just wide as the hosts failed to capitalise despite dominating possession.

It could have been a different story as Lewandowski took just 12 minutes to find the back of the net in LaLiga, chipping an effort over the onrushing Dimitrievski – but his celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

While Barcelona were in control, the best chance of the opening period fell to the visitors as Ter Stegen was called into action to keep Alvaro Garcia at bay after a fake shot left Ronald Araujo on the deck.

The visitors had another golden opportunity six minutes after the restart, pressing high to steal possession and Sergio Camello danced his way through the defence but was unable to hit the target.

Ansu Fati made a swift impact after his second-half introduction, testing Dimitrievski with a curling effort.

Fellow substitutes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Franck Kessie also came close, the former seeing an attempt cleared off the line while the latter found the net, but the hosts were again denied by the offside flag.

A frustrating night was further compounded during eight minutes of injury time as Busquets was dismissed after being shown a second yellow card for catching Radamel Falcao with a stray arm, while Falcao also had a goal disallowed for the visitors for offside in the closing minutes as both were forced to settle for a draw.

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