Raphinha header sends Barcelona 10 points clear

 

Raphinha of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football Match between FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 5, 2023.

Barcelona went 10 points clear at the top of La Liga for a few hours at least after beating struggling Valencia.

Raphinha put Xavi’s side into the lead with a header from Sergio Busquets’ dinked ball over the top.

They looked set to take control of the game when they won a penalty in the second half but Ferran Torres hit the post against his old team.

Ansu Fati struck the woodwork a minute later and Barcelona ended with 10 men after Ronald Araujo was sent off.

The Barca defender was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Hugo Duro, who was running on to Jules Kounde’s poor header.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen kept his 18th clean sheet in 24 La Liga games this season and only had to make one save, keeping out Justin Kluivert’s 20-yard strike with seconds left.

Real Madrid can reduce the gap to seven points again when they visit fifth-placed Real Betis at 20:00 GMT.

Barcelona were without their three top scorers Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri through injury, while boss Xavi was watching from the stands as he served a touchline ban.

Valencia remain in the relegation zone after the defeat.

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