Barcelona has lost three home games in a row for the first time in a single season when Rayo Vallecano beat them in La Liga.
Real Madrid is on the verge of winning the league after Barcelona’s defeat, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side needing just one point from their final five games to claim the title.
Madrid can win a record 35th Spanish title on Saturday if they avoid a loss against Espanyol. Alvaro Garcia’s quick-strike won Rayo a Liga double over Barca.
Barca has now lost three consecutive home games for only the second time in club history, following losses to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals and Cadiz in La Liga on Monday.
The other time was at the close of the 1997-98 season and the beginning of the 1998-99 season when Dutch manager Louis van Gaal was in charge.
Barcelona has only won twice in their last six games, although knowing that a win would almost guarantee a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Xavi’s side should still finish in the top four, but the famous Barcelona midfielder’s side’s form, which he took over from Ronald Koeman in October, will be a source of concern for him.
After Barca’s loss at Rayo, Koeman was fired, and Real Madrid became only the fourth promoted team in history to win both home and away against Barcelona and the first since 1997-98.
Garcia’s mobility allowed him to collect Isi Palazon’s brilliant pass ahead of Barcelona defender Sergino Dest and beat home goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a low shot at his near post.
Barcelona dominated possession while looking for an equalizer, with Gavi striking the crossbar with a soaring shot in the first half.
Watch Goal Below
In the second half, the home side continued to press and, after bringing on forwards Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong, and Adama Traore generated chances against a well-organized Rayo side.
Barca, on the other hand, paid the price for their wastefulness. Despite almost 14 minutes of added time, Barca was unable to find a way through.
Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski made four comfortable saves, while defender Alejandro Catena blocked a Dembele attempt off the line.