Barcelona face a tough battle to secure a second-place finish in LaLiga but are pleased to have their fate in their own hands with three games remaining, says defender Inigo Martinez. 

Barca leapfrogged Girona into second with Monday's 2-0 home win over Real Sociedad, going one point clear of their Catalan rivals after they drew 2-2 with Alaves on Friday.

Lamine Yamal put Xavi's team ahead in the 40th minute when he coolly slotted home from Ilkay Gundogan's pass after a quick breakaway, then Raphinha's stoppage-time penalty made certain of the win.

The Blaugrana go to Almeria on Thursday before hosting Rayo Vallecano in their final home game of the season on Sunday. They then bring their campaign to a close at Sevilla on May 25.

"There is still a long way to go. It will be a battle to the end. Girona are very strong," Martinez told Movistar after Monday's game.

"It's in our hands now. I think the team is very good. It's three valuable points. We had some mistakes in the first half, but in the second half I think we could have finished it off earlier."

Teenage winger Yamal believes Xavi's side – who are some 14 points adrift of champions Real Madrid – may need maximum points to hold off Girona. 

"It was an important game to regain second place and we have to try to make it a nine-point week," the 16-year-old said.

"La Real did very well in the first half but then we were able to improve. There was a good feeling in the whole team."

Xavi, meanwhile, was pleased to see his team pass a difficult test, saying: "La Real always make it difficult for us. 

"They are always very organised, aggressive, you don't create danger for them. It's an important victory for us. We played a good game in general."

Barcelona reclaimed second place in LaLiga with a 2-0 home win over Real Sociedad on Monday courtesy of a Lamine Yamal first-half strike and a late Raphinha penalty.

Yamal put Barcelona ahead in the 40th minute when he coolly slotted home from Ilkay Gundogan's pass after a quick breakaway for his fifth LaLiga goal this season.

Raphinha's penalty in stoppage time sealed victory for the hosts after a VAR review for handball, leaving the Basque side in seventh place with 54 points, one behind Real Betis in the last Europa League spot.

Xavi's side leapfrogged Girona to move on to 76 points, one clear of their Catalan rivals who dropped points in Friday's 2-2 draw at Alaves.

Real Madrid have already secured the league title, sitting on 90 points with three games left.

Data Debrief: 

Gundogan got a vital assist for Barcelona's opener, and has been involved in 193 open-play shot-ending sequences in LaLiga this season, more than any other player in the competition.

Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in both games against Real Sociedad in LaLiga 2023-24 (W2), achieving this in a single season of the competition for the first time since 2006-07, when they also beat them twice. 

England suffered their first defeat since the World Cup as teenage star Endrick came off the bench to seal Brazil a late victory against Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 hopefuls.

After a build-up dominated by the brouhaha over an altered St George’s flag on the back of the new shirt and talk about the manager’s future, Saturday’s glamour friendly between these injury-hit sides failed to live up to the hype.

Southgate’s side survived a few scares on a night that was heading towards a goalless conclusion until 17-year-old Endrick’s first senior international goal secured a 1-0 win at a sold-out Wembley.

This was England’s first defeat since their World Cup quarter-final exit to France 15 months ago, with the meek end to their 10-match unbeaten run leading to early exits and some grumbles at the final whistle.

Brazil had been on a run of three straight losses but, under new boss Dorival Junior, had the best chances of a stop-start opening period that saw Lucas Paqueta hit the post and somehow escape a second yellow card.

Vinicius Jr and Raphinha also had chances for the Selecao, with the former’s late shot leading to teenager Endrick’s matchwinner as England made a poor start to a year they hope will go down in history.

Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto is set for a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury.

No time frame has been put on the 31-year-old’s recovery as the LaLiga outfit’s injury problems continue to mount up.

Barca boss Xavi has been without injured players Jules Kounde, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski since before the international break.

A statement from the club’s official website read: “First-team player Sergi Roberto has a soleus muscle injury in his right leg and will be unable to play until the problem goes away.”

However, Spain internationals Alejandro Balde and Lamine Yamal returned to training on Wednesday following their recent issues.

Balde sustained an adductor injury while on international duty that forced him to miss Spain’s victory in Norway which clinched qualification for Euro 2024, while 16-year-old Yamal – Spain and Barcelona’s youngest ever goalscorer – has recovered from a hip flexor problem that ruled him out of selection.

Raphinha and head coach Xavi both saw red as Barcelona got their LaLiga title defence under way with a goalless draw at Getafe in a tempestuous affair that saw both sides finish with 10 players.

Raphinha came close to breaking the deadlock when his shot was saved by David Soria before rebounding off Stefan Mitrovic and on to a post, but the Barcelona winger was given his marching orders soon after.

Having been booked for dissent moments earlier, the Brazilian was given a straight red after appearing to use his forearm in an off-the-ball clash with Gaston Alvarez, prompting uproar from Getafe’s bench.

The incident on the stroke of half-time left Barcelona a man down with more than half the game to go but the sides were evened up just before the hour when Jaime Mata received a second yellow card.

Robert Lewandowski saw a looping header cleared off the line by Alvarez before, with 20 minutes left, Xavi was given his marching orders for arguing with the officials.

Barcelona dominated possession and had 14 shots to their opponents’ five on a steamy night in the Spanish capital but ultimately drew a blank in a clash that produced eight yellows and the three red cards.

They thought they should have had a penalty in the 12th minute of added-on time, with referee Cesar Soto Grado checking the monitors following potential fouls on Gavi and Ronald Araujo.

But the official saw no transgression by the Getafe defence and the hosts held on to secure a point.

Goals from Ayoze Perez and Willian Jose – in the 90th minute – secured a 2-1 victory for Real Betis at Villarreal, who had equalised through Jorge Cuenca, while Ruben Garcia and Moi Gomez were on target as Osasuna won 2-0 at Celta Vigo.

In Ligue 1, Lens squandered a two-goal lead as last season’s runners-up started their campaign with a 3-2 defeat at Brest.

Florian Sotoca and Deiver Machado put Lens two goals ahead inside 22 minutes but Romain Del Castillo’s spot-kick on the stroke of half-time gave the home side a foothold in the game.

Kenny Lala equalised just before the hour mark and after substitute Adrien Thomasson was sent off just a quarter of an hour after coming on, Del Castillo scored his second penalty to give Brest the points.

Wissam Ben Yedder bagged a brace as Monaco won 4-2 at Clermont, while Ibrahim Salah also scored twice as Rennes dished out a 5-1 beating to promoted Metz.

Le Havre, back in the top flight after a 14-year absence, had substitute Samuel Grandsir to thank for a last-gasp strike that rescued a 2-2 draw at Montpellier, while Toulouse came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Nantes and Strasbourg beat Lyon by the same score.

In Germany, Dani Olmo’s hat-trick saw RB Leipzig spoil Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich debut with a 3-0 win in the DFL-Supercup.

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