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Raphinha leads Barcelona win over Las Palmas to stay in touch with Real Madrid

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Raphinha helped reduce Las Palmas to 10 men before scoring to lead Barcelona to a 1-0 victory in the Spanish league on Saturday.

The Brazilian winger was running behind the defensive line when Las Palmas goalkeeper Álvaro Vallés ran out of his area and collided with him, earning himself a straight red card in the 24th minute.

Las Palmas entrenched themselves in their area until Raphinha broke through in the 59th minute, when he headed in a perfectly floated pass from substitute João Félix.

“These are three important points. We will continue fighting until the end and we will not give up until the League is over,” said Raphinha about the reigning champion's chances of overtaking Real Madrid.

Second-placed Barcelona is approaching five points behind the leader real Madrid before hosting Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. The Spanish powers will meet in the capital three weeks after the Champions League quarter finalswhere Barcelona faces Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid faces Manchester City.

Félix had a great chance to increase the lead when Jules Koundé found him alone at the far post, but the Portuguese striker sent his shot over the crossbar.

Despite being a man down, Alberto Moleiro almost equalized for the Canarian club in the final minutes when he finished into the side netting.

“Today we did our homework and we got the three points we needed to continue in the fight,” said coach Xavi Hernández after watching the game from the stands while serving a two-game suspension for protesting.

Since Xavi said that would not continue next season After a series of painful defeats, Barcelona has improved, especially in defense, and remains unbeaten in 11 consecutive games in all competitions.

Xavi said he hoped the decision would provoke a reaction from his team. Raphinha said after Saturday's game that the change was due to the players “talking about things internally and what we had to do to get wins.”

Xavi and his players have 11 days to prepare for PSG.

With the league taking a break next weekend for the Copa del Rey final, Barcelona will not play again until the first leg of their showdown against PSG on April 10.

Barcelona's Ferran Torres returned as a second-half substitute for his first minutes since injuring his right thigh in late January.


Osasuna striker Ante Budimir scored his 16th league goal of the season and tied Madrid's Jude Bellingham as the competition's top scorer. Budimir helped secure a 3-0 victory over last-placed Almería.

The Croatian international made it 2-0 for Osasuna after an error by Almería goalkeeper Luis Maximiano. The goalkeeper attempted to prevent a corner kick from being awarded when he slid to prevent the ball from crossing the backline, but inadvertently passed it to an Osasuna player who easily set up Budimir to score into an open goal.

Budimir is having the best season of his career and has scored six goals in his last seven games. His next best season was with Mallorca in 2019-20, when he scored 13 goals.

Bellingham returns Sunday after a two-game suspension.


Sevilla's 1-0 victory in Getafe was marred by racist insults by fans targeting Sevilla defender Marcos Acuña and coach Quique Sánchez Flores.

Referee Javier Iglesias briefly stopped play when Acuña was insulted by fans at 68. Sánchez Flores, who has coached Getafe at three different times, said after the match that his Romani heritage was insulted.

“We are workers who come here to work in peace and to be respected,” said Sánchez Flores. “It is an aberration that in these times when we advance in so many ways (these individuals) grab us and pull us back.”

Sergio Ramos scored the winning goal in the fifth minute.


Mallorca drew 0-0 in Valencia a week before facing Athletic in the Copa del Rey final.

Javier Aguirre's team, which relies on its defense, has kept a clean sheet in three of its last four games.


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