In a thrilling encounter at the Montjuic stadium, Robert Lewandowski’s heroics propelled Barcelona to a 2-1 victory over Alaves, keeping the Catalan club in close pursuit of La Liga frontrunners Real Madrid and Girona. The Sunday win marked an essential comeback for Barcelona, narrowing the gap to two points behind second-placed Real Madrid.
Robert Lewandowski, the talismanic striker, played a pivotal role in Barcelona’s resurgence, scoring two crucial goals after Alaves took an early lead with a breakaway goal one minute into the match. The Polish striker found the back of the net with a powerful header in the 53rd minute, showcasing his predatory instincts. Later, in the 78th minute, Lewandowski converted a penalty kick, sealing the comeback and securing three crucial points for Barcelona.
The victory ensures Barcelona remains in the La Liga title race, trailing Girona by four points. Girona, the surprise leaders, managed to maintain their lead with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. Real Madrid, on the other hand, solidified their second position with an emphatic 5-1 win over Valencia.
Barcelona’s head coach, Xavi, acknowledged the team’s challenging phase but expressed confidence in improvement, saying, “We played a bit better, but we are not going through our best moment. The international break will be good for us so we can regroup. We will improve, I’m certain.”
Lewandowski’s standout performance was particularly significant as he ended a goal drought of six matches since his double against Celta Vigo in September. His clinical finishing and ability to lead the line were instrumental in securing Barcelona’s 15th straight league home win against Alaves.
Despite the victory, Barcelona continues to face challenges, with injuries sidelining key midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto. Additionally, the absence of the suspended Gavi posed a midfield challenge for Xavi, which was overcome through a resilient team effort.
In another La Liga fixture, Atletico Madrid showcased their resilience by coming from behind to defeat Villarreal 3-1. A goal and an assist by Antoine Griezmann contributed to Atletico’s 15th consecutive league home win, surpassing their previous record set between May 2012 and February 2013.
Diego Simeone’s side, unbeaten in 12 games across all competitions, displayed their attacking prowess, with Griezmann leading an attack that has scored an impressive 29 goals in 12 league matches. Atletico’s victory over Villarreal places them in close contention for the top spot, with a game in hand due to a previously suspended match against Sevilla.
In the Seville derby, Sevilla and Real Betis played to a 1-1 draw, with Ivan Rakitic’s late goal securing a crucial point for Sevilla. The result extended Sevilla’s winless streak in the league to six matches, while Real Betis, coached by Manuel Pellegrini, had their five-game winning streak halted.
As the La Liga season unfolds, the competition intensifies, with each match proving decisive in the pursuit of the coveted title. Barcelona’s resilience against Alaves and Atletico Madrid’s strong showing exemplify the unpredictability and excitement that La Liga continues to offer to football enthusiasts worldwide.