Players from Barcelona and Real Valladolid held an anti-racism message before the game
Barcelona (AFP) - Real Valladolid earned an important 3-1 victory over champions Barcelona to boost their La Liga survival hopes on Tuesday.
The hosts were good value for their victory and climbed to 17th, moving provisionally three points clear of the relegation zone.
Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen sent Valladolid on their way by heading into his own net in the second minute.
Canadian striker Cyle Larin added the second from the penalty spot after Eric Garcia tripped Gonzalo Plata in the area, with the Ecuadorian winger scoring the third on the break.
La Liga’s top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for the Catalans in the final stages.
Barcelona winger Raphinha revealed a message of support for Real Madrid winger and Brazil compatriot Vinicius Junior in the second half when he was substituted.
Vinicius was racially abused by Valencia fans on Sunday at their Mestalla stadium.
“I didn’t know he was going to do it but I think it’s a good message, because racism has to end,” Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong told DAZN, after Raphinha took his shirt off to show the message after being substituted.
Players from both sides held up a banner reading “racists out of football” before the game, as part of a La Liga and Spanish football federation initiative following the abuse on Sunday.
Young playmaker Pablo Torre started for the first time in La Liga for Barcelona and put in a bright performance but his team were sluggish as a whole and fell to a second consecutive defeat.
“Pablo had a good game, he was good in his position, he played through a lot of good passes and linked up well with Robert,” Xavi told reporters.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is still chasing the La Liga clean sheet record of 26 – he has 25 with two matches remaining.
“In the first half we were not good, we let in two goals because of our own mistakes. We had an objective, we completed it, and that has caused a dip in concentration,” said Xavi.
“We have had a great season, but for our fans, and to say goodbye to (Sergio) Busquets, we have to do better.”
- Closing in -
Real Sociedad put one foot into next season’s Champions League with a 1-0 win over 10-man Almeria.
Takefusa Kubo’s first-half strike gave Imanol Alguacil’s side, fourth, an eight-point lead on fifth-place Villarreal, who face Cadiz on Wednesday.
Almeria striker Luis Suarez was dismissed after 36 minutes for a rough tackle on defender Robin Le Normand.
Japanese winger Kubo took his goal brilliantly, cutting in from the right and curling into the top left corner in first-half stoppage time.
Alexander Sorloth could have doubled La Real’s lead late on but fired narrowly wide. Ander Barrenetxea hit the post.
Real Sociedad have not played in Europe’s premier competition since the 2013-14 season and can qualify if Villarreal fail to win any of their last three matches or by earning two more points themselves.
Defeat leaves Almeria provisionally 15th, four points above the relegation zone.
Celta Vigo, 14th, were held to a 1-1 home draw by Girona and are five points above the relegation zone.