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Lewandowski’s hat-trick helps Barça beat Valencia

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Barcelona, April 30: Barcelona survived a tricky first half to beat Valencia 4-2 with the help of a second half hat trick from Robert Lewandowski and a red card to Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.
On a rainy night in Catalonia, the home side dominated possession but was behind at the break due to two defensive errors.
Fermín López put Barcelona ahead with a lovely glancing header midway through the first half.
Valencia levelled just five minutes later thanks to a woeful intervention from keeper Marc Ter Stegen. He intercepted a long ball 25 yards from his goal but he tried to be too fancy and Hugo Duro easily dispossessed him and ran the ball into the empty net.
Before halftime, Valencia took the lead thanks to another elementary mistake. Ronald Araújo’s mistimed tackle felled Peter Federico in the box and Pepelu coolly converted the spot kick.
The balance of the match changed moments before the break when Mamardashvili used a hand outside the box to thwart a scoring chance by Lamine Yamal and was red-carded.
Lewandoski headed an equalizer from a corner kick after 50 minutes. However, it took Barcelona until the 82nd to regain the lead from another Lewandowski header after Valencia failed to clear another corner.
The hat trick came in the third minute of stoppage time from a 25-yard free kick.
“It wasn’t easy,” Lewandowski said. “In the first half we didn’t find any space in attack.” Barcelona replaced Girona in second place and was 11 points behind Real Madrid. Madrid needs five from its last five matches to guarantee a 36th Spanish league title. (AP)

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