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LaLiga: Lewandowski hat-trick puts Barca back to second ahead of Girona showdown

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Madrid, April 30 (IANS) A second-half hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski helped FC Barcelona come back from a goal down to beat Valencia 2-1 in the former Olympic Stadium in Montjuic.

Madrid, April 30 (IANS) A second-half hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski helped FC Barcelona come back from a goal down to beat Valencia 2-1 in the former Olympic Stadium in Montjuic.

The result sees Barca move back above Girona in La Liga ahead of its game in Girona next weekend and also means that Real Madrid can’t assure the La Liga title in its match at home to Cadiz next week.

Barcelona opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Fermin Lopez again showed his intelligence around the penalty area when he darted in between two defenders to head home Raphinha’s pinpoint cross, reports Xinhua.

Barca’s lead didn’t last long in a rainy Montjuic after Hugo Duro leveled five minutes later.

Valencia’s top scorer chased down a long ball over the top and although Marc Andre Ter Stegen got to the ball with time to spare, he tried to clip the ball over the striker’s leg, only to give Duro the gift of an open goal to put the ball into.

Another ball over the top saw Peter Gonzalez through on goal before being wiped out by Ronald Araujo in the Barca area, with Pepelu stepping up to put Valencia ahead from the spot.

The game took another dramatic turn in the last minute of the half when Valencia goalkeeper, Giorgi Mamardashvili’s control let him down and he committed handball outside his area as Lamine Yamal looked to beat him.

Referee De Burgos Bengoetxea had no option but to send Mamardashvili off, leaving Valencia to play the second half with 10 men.

Barcelona levelled three minutes into the second half when Lewandowski flicked home a near-post corner, with Valencia claiming a positional offside from Fermin.

The second half was one-way traffic, with Barcelona playing in the Valencia half, although defended with two ordered lines to deny them spaces.

The visitors should have gone back ahead with 17 minutes left to play when Peter and Diego Lopez combined to leave the latter through on goal, only for Pedri to make a last-gasp challenge as Lopez looked certain to score.

Lewandowski headed in his second of the game in the 82nd minute after Araujo won a challenge against substitute keeper Jaume Domenech, leaving him with a simple finish.

Lewandowski completed his hat-trick in injury time with a free kick into the top-corner that gave Domenech no chance.

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