Barcelona Ready to go a La Liga record of 38 games without defeat


Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will target a record-equalling 38th straight game without defeat when his side host Leganes on Saturday, a Liga milestone which former bosses Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique were incapable of achieving. The runaway leaders have not lost in the league since going down 2-0 at Malaga on April 8, 2017 and can match Real Sociedad’s 38-year-old unbeaten run against Leganes, who are 14th in the standings with their top-flight status virtually guaranteed. Barca have a nine-point lead over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid at the top of the standings and could further widen that gap by the end of the weekend, with Atletico facing a gruelling derby away to champions Real Madrid on Sunday. The Catalans looked destined to fall painfully short of the record, which has stood since 1980, when they were two goals down with two minutes left at Sevilla last week but quick-fire strikes from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi sealed a 2-2 draw. That late fightback was the eighth time this season they had come back from a losing position in the league to either win or draw and was the latest demonstration of the inner steel that has underpinned Valverde’s debut campaign in charge. Barca are also unbeaten in the Champions League this campaign and took a giant stride towards the semi-finals of the competition by beating AS Roma 4-1 on Wednesday, staying on course for a treble.

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