Xavi’s frustration mounts as Barcelona’s penalty appeal rejected in 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallencano

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Barcelona were 1-0 down at half-time thanks to Unai Lopez’s first-half goal but salvaged a point with Florian Lejeune’s late goal

FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez asked his players to switch up their approach and questioned some refereeing decisions after their 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallencano on Saturday.

Barcelona were 1-0 down at half-time thanks to Unai Lopez’s first-half goal. However, they salvaged a point as Florian Lejeune’s goal in the 82nd minute ensured Barca went to the dugout with a point. Should Girona or Real Madrid win on Saturday, Barcelona could fall six points behind the leaders in La Liga.

After the game, Xavi said that the key to winning or losing was mentality and that Barca did not play well in the first half like they did in the second.

“We can’t give away any more goals, this is punishing us a lot. In modern football, it changes a lot when you can go ahead on the scoreboard. When we have to come back, everything is very difficult,” Xavi said.

Barcelona denied clear penalty: Xavi

Xavi also blasted the refereeing in the game, claiming they were denied a clear penalty. In stoppage time of the second half, the referee Barca denied a penalty appeal following a foul inside the box on Raphinha. The Brazilian appeared to have had some contact with Rayo’s defender, but Video Assistant Referee (VAR) did not overturn the call.

Then I’m told I’m looking for excuses, but the foul on Raphinha is a clear penalty. It happened to us in Getafe, in Granada and today. We lost because we weren’t good in the first half, and that’s no excuse, but it’s a clear penalty,” Xavi said.

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It’s not just a sluggish first-half display against Rayo that’s been a problem for the Catalans in recent weeks. They haven’t won a game by more than one goal since September, when they thrashed Real Betis and Royal Antwerp 5-0 back-to-back.

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