Moroccan El Zhar on target as Leganes shock Barcelona in La Liga

Reuters , Wednesday 26 Sep 2018

Barcelona
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Leganes v FC Barcelona - Butarque Municipal Stadium, Leganes, Spain - September 26, 2018 Leganes' Nabil El Zhar celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS

La Liga leaders Barcelona slumped to a shock first loss of the season as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at struggling Leganes on Wednesday after conceding twice in two second-half minutes.

Philippe Coutinho gave the champions the lead in the 12th minute with a classy volley and Lionel Messi smacked a shot against the bar as Barca, resting Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez, made a strong start against Leganes, who began the game bottom of the table with one point.

Barca's seemingly comfortable hold on the game dramatically fell apart shortly after the interval when Morocco's Nabil El Zhar headed home a looping cross in the 52nd minute and 20-year-old Oscar Rodriguez turned in a second goal barely sixty seconds later.

Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar pulled off a stunning double save to thwart Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic from close range in the closing minutes while Sergi Roberto skied a good opportunity as the unfancied hosts held on to record their first top-flight win over Barcelona.

Barca remained top of the standings but could slip three points behind Real Madrid into second spot if Julen Lopetegui's side win at Sevilla later on Wednesday. 

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