Raphinha winner helps Barca cut Real Madrid’s lead

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Barcelona kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid by reducing the gap to five points after ending the resistance of visitors Las Palmas.

With Las Palmas keeper Alvaro Valles sent off after 26 minutes, Barca eventually made their numerical advantage count through Raphinha.

Valles has been one of the most impressive and reliable goalkeepers in La Liga this season, but a moment of madness – when he raced out of his area and cleaned out Raphinha – made his side’s task even harder.

Las Palmas, who are 12th in their first season back in the top flight and seemingly safe from relegation, continued to dig in after the restart.

Barcelona sent on substitute Joao Felix and he unlocked the visitors’ defence within moments.

The Portuguese attacker made an instant impact by picking out former Leeds winger Raphinha with a delicious lofted pass, allowing the Brazil international to steer a header into the top corner.

Joao Felix later squandered a chance to made the points safe when he scooped against the bar from close range.

And the Catalan giants were almost punished late on when Alberto Moleiro nearly snatched a draw for Las Palmas, using trickery to create space and hit a shot which Barca were relieved to see crash into the side-netting.

Real Madrid will try to regain their eight-point lead when they host fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are trying to regain the Spanish title after Barcelona won it last season with four games to spare.

Madrid have been similarly dominant this year and, with eight rounds of games left after this weekend, look to be in a strong position.

Barcelona are continuing to chase their arch-rivals, with the pair meeting at the Bernabeu on 21 April.

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