European roundup: Rayo Vallecano stun Barça as Inter make Coppa Italia final

  • Barça remain 11 points clear of Real Madrid at top of La Liga
  • Third-placed Atlético Madrid come back to beat Mallorca

Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to extend their lead at the top of La Liga as they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Rayo Vallecano thanks to goals in each half from Álvaro García and Fran García.

With seven games to play, Barça are top of the league on 76 points, 11 ahead second-placed Real Madrid, who were also stunned 4-2 at lowly Girona on Tuesday. Rayo Vallecano are ninth on 43 points, four adrift of the European qualification spots.

Rayo halted Barça’s seven game unbeaten streak in the league with a gutsy performance in front of their fans at a sold-out Estadio de Vallecas. They were the better side for most of the match against a slapdash Barça and opened the scoring in 19th minute after Sergio Camello challenged Gavi and quickly fed Álvaro García who riffled an unstoppable low shot past Marc-André ter Stegen.

Rayo got back on top in the second half and extended their lead in the 52nd minute thanks to a great effort from Fran García, who stole the ball from Frenkie de Jong in midfield and ran through the heart of the Barça defence to score with a tidy finish past Ter Stegen. Barça cut the deficit through Robert Lewandowski, who latched on to a loose ball inside the box and drilled it into the net in the 83rd minute.

Atlético Madrid recovered from conceding an early goal to beat Real Mallorca, a result that put them two points behind their second-placed city rivals Real Madrid.

Celebrating their 120th anniversary in front of a nearly sold-out Metropolitano stadium and wearing a blue and white kit inspired by the one they used in their first match in 1903, Atlético fell behind in the 19th minute after Mallorca defender Matija Nastasic scored with a header from a corner. But Atlético took control of the match, creating several opportunities mainly through in-form Antoine Griezmann, who is in contention to be the league’s player of the season.

The referee initially awarded Atlético a penalty for a foul on Nahuel Molina inside the box, but reversed his decision after checking the VAR replay.

Atlético recovered netting twice within two minutes at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. Rodrigo de Paul scored in added time before the break with a close-range strike and right after half-time Álvaro Morata found the net with a towering header from a perfect Molina cross.

Yannick Carrasco wrapped up the points from a counterattack in the 76th minute, collecting a brilliant long pass from Griezmann and dribbling around the goalkeeper before tapping into the empty goal.

Elsewhere in La Liga, Almería came out on top in a critical relegation dogfight, winning 2-1 at Getafe to go 15th, three points clear of the relegation places. The Colombian international Luis Suárez scored both goals for the visitors, while Djene Dakonam was sent off for the hosts in first-half stoppage time. Getafe are fourth-bottom on 31 points, a point above Valencia who have a game in hand. Celta Vigo, meanwhile, beat basement club Elche 1-0 with a 90th-minute winner from Joseph Aidoo.

Federico Dimarco of Internazionale celebrates scoring the winner
Federico Dimarco of Internazionale celebrates scoring the winner. Photograph: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

In the Coppa Italia, the Internazionale midfielder Federico Dimarco’s first-half goal earned his side a place in the final for the second year in a row after a 1-0 home win over Juventus in their semi-final second leg secured a 2-1 aggregate victory.

Nicolò Barella set up Dimarco to send the champions racing into the lead after 15 minutes. Soon after the second half began, Edin Dzeko appeared to have doubled the hosts’ lead with a nice finish from a tight angle, but he was flagged offside. Inter will face either Fiorentina or Cremonese in the final on 24 May at the Stadio Olimpico, with Fiorentina leading 2-0 after their first leg.


Reuters and Guardian sport

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