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Barcelona end winless La Liga away streak

Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho have scored late as Barcelona won 3-1 at Villarreal to end their winless away streak in La Liga.

Prior to Saturday’s game, only three other teams in the 20-team competition had earned fewer points on the road this season after Barcelona went winless in their first five league matches away from Camp Nou.

The long-awaited win came in Xavi Hernandez’s third match in charge since replacing Ronald Koeman.

Depay calmly went around goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli to score a dramatic 88th-minute goal that restored Barca’s lead and Coutinho added a stoppage-time penalty – awarded when the Brazilian was brought down in the box.

Villarreal had fought back when substitute Samuel Chukwueze equalised on 76 minutes after Frenkie de Jong’s early second-half effort had given Barcelona the advantage.

“Three huge points but we didn’t dominate as we expected,” Xavi, whose record as Barca coach is now two wins from as many league games, said.

“We played against a great team. We were lucky. Villarreal didn’t deserve to lose.”

Barcelona are in seventh place, but reduced the gap to leaders Real Madrid – who face Sevilla on Sunday – to seven points.

Unai Emery’s Villarreal remained 12th.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano continued to impress after the promoted team fought back to draw at Valencia 1-1 and move up to fifth in standings.

Iago Aspas and Santi Mina scored for Celta Vigo in their 2-1 victory at Alaves 2-1, in a match that was played with an alternative yellow ball due to snowfall and wintry weather.

Getafe remain second from bottom but did get an away point when they held Mallorca to a goalless draw.

with Reuters

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