Spanish La Liga
Barcelona3Rayo Vallecano1

Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano: Philippe Coutinho backed by Gerard Pique after jeers

Philippe Coutinho is substituted
Philippe Coutinho (left) comes off after 80 minutes

Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been backed by team-mate Gerard Pique after the former Liverpool player was jeered by home fans on Saturday.

Coutinho started the 3-1 La Liga win over Rayo Vallecano but was whistled at by supporters at the Nou Camp and substituted with 10 minutes left.

The 26-year-old Brazilian has only scored three times since October.

"We have to accept the reaction of the fans - but from the inside we have to give him our support," said Pique.

Coutinho joined the Spanish champions from Liverpool in January 2018 for £142m but has been linked with a move back to the Premier League.

"Philippe is having a good season," Pique told Marca. "Obviously his cost was very high so that means there are more expectations of his performance level. It is what it is.

"We need him at his best for the end of the season and I'm sure he will be."

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has now scored 69 penalties for Barcelona

On Saturday, Lionel Messi scored a penalty as Barca came from behind to beat Rayo Vallecano and retain their seven-point lead at the top of the Spanish top flight.

Raul de Tomas, on loan from Real Madrid, had given Rayo a surprise lead with an excellent 20-yard strike.

Centre-back Pique headed an equaliser from Messi's free-kick and the Barcelona captain nonchalantly put the treble-chasing champions ahead from the spot.

Luis Suarez tapped home a late third after a one-two with Ivan Rakitic.

Messi is La Liga's top scorer with 26 goals in 25 games, with Suarez second on 17.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid had briefly narrowed the gap on Barca with a 1-0 win over Leganes earlier on Saturday, Saul scoring the only goal.

Barcelona were made to work hard by Rayo Vallecano, who are in the relegation zone after six consecutive defeats, but Ernesto Valverde's side are now unbeaten in 14 league games, a run going back to November. They have won 13 consecutive league games against Rayo since 2002.

Next up for the Catalan side is a home game against Lyon in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, having drawn the first leg 0-0 in France.

Winger Ousmane Dembele picked up a slight hamstring strain against Vallecano and could be a doubt for that match.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Nélson Semedo
  • 3Piqué
  • 23Umtiti
  • 18Alba
  • 22Vidal
  • 5BusquetsBooked at 79minsSubstituted forMalcomat 85'minutes
  • 8ArthurSubstituted forDembéléat 45'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9Suárez
  • 7CoutinhoSubstituted forRakiticat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Rakitic
  • 11Dembélé
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Malcom
  • 17Murillo
  • 20Roberto
  • 21Aleñá

Rayo Vallecano

  • 13Dimitrievski
  • 17Advíncula
  • 20VelázquezBooked at 68mins
  • 23Gálvez
  • 16AmatSubstituted forPozoat 64'minutes
  • 7Moreno Lopera
  • 14Dias Correia
  • 12ImbulaBooked at 89mins
  • 27Comesaña
  • 18GarcíaSubstituted forEmbarbaat 80'minutes
  • 9de Tomás Gómez

Substitutes

  • 1García
  • 2Román Triguero
  • 8Trejo
  • 11Embarba
  • 15Suárez
  • 22Pozo
  • 25Di Santo
Referee:
Mario Melero López
Attendance:
72,689

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamRayo Vallecano
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home12
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away1
Corners
Home10
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 3, Rayo Vallecano 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Rayo Vallecano 1.

Booking

Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano) is shown the yellow card.

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano).

Attempt missed. Raúl de Tomás (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high. Assisted by Giannelli Imbula.

Foul by Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona).

Raúl de Tomás (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Barcelona. Jordi Alba tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Malcom replaces Sergio Busquets.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alejandro Gálvez (Rayo Vallecano).

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 3, Rayo Vallecano 1. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic.

Attempt blocked. Bebé (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adrián Embarba.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic replaces Coutinho.

Substitution

Substitution, Rayo Vallecano. Adrián Embarba replaces Álvaro García.

Booking

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Rayo Vallecano. Conceded by Jordi Alba.

Attempt blocked. Raúl de Tomás (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Emiliano Velázquez (Rayo Vallecano) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Giannelli Imbula with a cross.

Corner, Rayo Vallecano. Conceded by Nélson Semedo.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Santiago Comesaña.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Álex Moreno.

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Emiliano Velázquez (Rayo Vallecano) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Emiliano Velázquez (Rayo Vallecano).

Offside, Rayo Vallecano. José Pozo tries a through ball, but Santiago Comesaña is caught offside.

Attempt missed. José Pozo (Rayo Vallecano) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Rayo Vallecano. Conceded by Samuel Umtiti.

Attempt blocked. Raúl de Tomás (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Santiago Comesaña.

Foul by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).

José Pozo (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Rayo Vallecano. José Pozo replaces Jordi Amat.

Attempt blocked. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ousmane Dembélé.

Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Bebé (Rayo Vallecano).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 9th March 2019

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona27196269264363
2Atl Madrid27168339172256
3Real Madrid26153843311248
4Getafe27129636241245
5Alavés2711882830-241
6Sevilla2610794134737
7Valencia2671542721636
8Real Betis26106103032-236
9Real Sociedad269893027335
10Eibar2781183536-135
11Espanyol2797113240-834
12Ath Bilbao2771372631-534
13Leganés2789102732-533
14Girona2671092734-731
15Levante2686123746-930
16Real Valladolid2668122034-1426
17Celta Vigo2667133644-825
18Villarreal26411112735-823
19Rayo Vallecano2765162948-1923
20Huesca2757152744-1722
View full Spanish La Liga table

Top Stories