Barcelona’s faint hopes of catching LaLiga leaders Real Madrid suffered a huge blow as they slipped to a shock 1-0 home defeat by relegation-threatened Cadiz on Monday.
Real’s last-gasp victory at Sevilla on Sunday extended their advantage over Barca in second to 15 points, but Xavi Hernandez’s in-form side were expected to close the gap when taking on Cadiz in the Nou Camp.
The hosts never really got going, however, in front of a disgruntled crowd and Cadiz had the better first-half openings, with Lucas Perez missing a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock.
Cadiz kept coming after the interval and Perez scored in the 48th minute before the visitors wasted further big chances to extend their advantage – Alex Fernandez slotting wide when it looked easier to score.
Barca piled on the pressure but lacked that killer pass as they slipped to a first defeat in 16 LaLiga matches stretching back to December. They remained on 60 points from 31 games, 15 behind Real who have one hand on the trophy.
An unexpected win for Cadiz in Catalonia lifted them out of the relegation zone and up to 16th on 31 points from 32 matches.
Napoli’s title bid suffers blow with Roma draw
Napoli’s Serie A title hopes suffered a huge blow as Stephan El Shaarawy’s last-gasp equaliser earned AS Roma a 1-1 draw at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Monday.
The hosts held the lead in a tense clash in Naples for the majority of the contest after captain Lorenzo Insigne broke the deadlock with a well-taken penalty after 11 minutes.
Chasing a first Scudetto since 1990, Napoli looked nervy as they went in search of three points that would have closed the gap on leaders AC Milan, with Roma having several chances to level in the second half.
The home side looked like they had done enough to hold on as the clock passed 90 minutes, before substitute El Shaarawy broke Napoli hearts in stoppage time, firing a leveller that in-form Roma deserved.
The draw left Napoli third in the standings on 67 points from 33 matches, four points behind leaders AC Milan. Roma stayed fifth on 58 points having stretched their unbeaten run in Serie A to 12 matches.
“There is a bit of disappointment, as for long stretches we controlled the game,” Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said. “We then faced a strong team that created problems.
“We are sorry for the final result, we had fresh players at the end but we were unable to manage the ball and the goal conceded was highly avoidable.”
Napoli were beaten in their previous home by Fiorentina, but got just the start they needed against Roma after Hirving Lozano was adjudged to have been fouled after a VAR review.
Insigne’s cool finish ensured Napoli are the team with the most penalties scored in the big-five European leagues (nine).
After that, the better chances fell Roma’s way, with English striker Tammy Abraham and visiting skipper Lorenzo Pellegrini missing glaring openings after the break.
Roma had one more gilt-edged chance and El Shaarawy arrowed the ball into the bottom corner. The Italian has scored all of his Serie A goals this campaign from the 90th minute onwards.
Roma coach Jose Mourinho was typically still not happy after the match, with the referee the target of his ire for not awarding his side a late penalty and giving a red card to unused away substitute Daniel Fuzato for his protests.
“Today it seemed impossible for us to win,” he told DAZN. (Referee Marco) Di Bello in some moments made me ashamed of being there.
“There was a red for (Alessandro) Zanoli, he didn’t call a penalty against (Nicolo) Zaniolo and then much more. I have had enough, we want a little respect.”