Barça’s undefeated streak in LaLiga ends in historic loss to Cadiz

Barcelona, Apr 18 (EFE).- Still reeling from their elimination from the Europa League last week, FC Barcelona saw their 15-match unbeaten streak in LaLiga end in a 1-0 home loss on Monday night to lowly Cadiz.

A goal by Lucas Perez just after the intermission was the difference in a historic win for the Andalusian side, who notched their first-ever victory at Camp Nou.

The Catalans were sub-par at both ends of the field in that Matchday 32 contest, lacking the precision to get the ball past goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma while also suffering breakdowns on defense.

Ousmane Dembele was the key figure of the first half for Barcelona, making life miserable for Cadiz defender Pacha Espino and creating plenty of havoc in the final third.

Those forays weren’t reflected on the scoreboard though, with the French forward just off the mark with his passes and unable to get the ball out of the reach of Ledesma with his shots on goal, including one in minute 39.

Cadiz center back Fali also interfered with a Dembele chance and helped keep the game scoreless at halftime.

The visitors, meanwhile, did little offensively in the first 45 minutes, their only chance coming on a golden counterattack opportunity in which Perez received a precise pass from Ruben Sobrino but botched his chance in the area in the 27th minute.

Shortly after the break, however, Cadiz stunned the home crowd with a goal at close range.

The scoring play was set up by a pass into the area to Sobrino, who was denied twice at close range by Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Perez booted the ball into the back of the net in the 48th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Afterward, the German goalkeeper was visibly upset with defenders Eric Garcia, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba for their failure to clear the ball away.

Barcelona tried desperately to rally, but Ledesma denied a long-range shot by Dembele in the 68th minute and head coach Xavi was unable to provide a spark with his second-half substitutions.

In fact, Cadiz had the best chances to put more points on the board when Alex Fernandez missed from close range in the 76th minute and Sobrino sent a shot toward the roof of the goal that forced Ter Stegan to make a fingertip save in the 79th minute.

Luuk De Jong’s first touch after entering the game in the 77th minute was a powerful header that Ledesma got in front of, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had come on near the one-hour mark, also was denied by the Cadiz netminder in minute 89.

Afterward, Xavi vented his frustration to the media.

“We have to look ourselves in the face. This is Barça and it’s not acceptable to lose 1-0 to Cadiz,” he said. Noting the tough struggle ahead to book a spot in next season’s Champions League, he lamented that “today we didn’t play as if it were a final.”

With the loss second-place Barcelona (60 points) remain tied on points with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, although the Catalans have a game in hand. Real Betis (57 points) and Real Sociedad (55 points) also still are in the running for one of four Champions spots.

Real Madrid (75 points) have virtually clinched one of them thanks to their firm grasp on first place.

Cadiz lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with the win and currently are in 16th place with six games remaining in the LaLiga season. EFE


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