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Girona 0 - 3 Barcelona: As it happened, goals, match report


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Girona 0 - 3 Barcelona: As it happened, goals, match report
ALBERT GEAREUTERS

Girona 0 - 3 Barcelona: match report

Crisis, what crisis? With six wins from their opening six matches, Barcelona are four points clear at the top of LaLiga after a comfortable 0-3 victory at Girona.

Ernesto Valverde’s side continued their emphatic start to the season in the first league meeting between these Catalan neighbours. Two own goals, from Aday Benítez and Gorka Iraizoz, placed Barcelona in a strong position. Luis Suárez rounded off the victory with his second goal of the season.

The Estadi Montilivi may only hold 13,500, but it was a raucous atmosphere as the two teams walked out for this new-look Catalan derby. Girona coach Pablo Machín said before the match that they could have sold out the stadium twice over. His opposite number, Ernesto Valverde, rested Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets, with Rakitic occupying the holding role in midfield and Aleix Vidal deployed on the right-wing.

Vidal made the first foray forward, drawing a save from Gorka Iraizoz after four minutes. Yet a Girona side sprinkled with Manchester City loanees following the club’s incorporation in to the same ownership structure were able to compete. Douglas Soares, a dynamic presence in midfield, forced Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in to a fine one-handed save from the edge of the box. The Barça ‘keeper was straight back up to prevent Michael Olunga thrashing home the rebound at the near post.

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Andreu DalmauEFE

A generous slice of luck gifted Barcelona the lead. Lionel Messi floated a corner all the way across to the far side of the box, where Jordi Alba was waiting to greet the ball on the volley. His shot was poorly-directed, but that did not matter as it ricocheted off Aday’s shin and beyond Iraizoz.

The former Athletic Club ‘keeper kept the home side in the match until half time, with smart saves to deny Jordi Alba and a Messi free-kick.

But cruelly, it was the 36-year-old who turned the ball in to his own net in the fledgling stages of the second half. Aleix Vidal burst in to the box and proceeded to the byline before neatly back-heeling the ball to the near post. Luis Suárez feigned to shoot, dummied, and Iraizoz was helpless as the ball bounced off him and over the line.

Barcelona dropped in to a lower gear and saw out the match. It was far from a vintage performance in the second half; Barça were content to cede possession to Girona, and hurt them on the counter-attack. But then teams must evolve, and so must our concept of ‘vintage’. This Barcelona side does not have the aesthetic characteristics that Pep Guardiola polished, but Ernesto Valverde has imbued a certain grit, and game-management that were lacking last season under Luis Enrique.

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RODOLFO MOLINADIARIO AS

Luis Suárez added gloss to the result in the 69th minute. With Girona committing swathes of players forward, there was space for Sergi Roberto to threat the Uruguayan, who gave Iraizoz the eyes and slotted the ball in at the near post. It was Suárez’ 87th goal on his 100th league appearance for Barcelona, a remarkable record.

The win establishes a seven-point advantage over reigning champions Real Madrid, and Barcelona’s march shows little sign of slowing.

Girona 0 - 3 Barcelona: as it happened

Girona vs Barcelona: LaLiga match preview

Montilivi is the setting for a historic Catalan derby on Saturday evening as LaLiga new boys Girona host Barcelona in the two clubs' first ever league encounter.

Girona

Girona have made a respectable start to their maiden season in the Spanish top flight, picking up five points from five games so far to find themselves in 15th.

An entertaining opening-day draw with Atlético Madrid was followed by a win over Málaga, and though defeats to Athletic Club and Sevilla followed, they bounced back to earn a creditable point at Leganés in midweek.

And Pablo Machín's men would still be unbeaten on home turf had Alex Granell not missed a last-gasp penalty in that 1-0 reverse against Sevilla.

Girona host a side who currently sit top of the league with a 100% record, but coach Machín was not about to be downhearted by his opponents' early-season run of results.

"There's never a good time to [try to] beat Barça," Machín told his pre-match press conference on Friday, "[but] we'll try to make that time tomorrow."

Barcelona

Few would have predicted it after August's 5-1 aggregate Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, but the leaders go into week 6 a full seven points ahead of the champions.

Ernesto Valverde's side have posted five wins out of five in LaLiga, plus a 3-0 victory over Juventus in their Champions League opener, with Leo Messi starting the campaign in sparkling scoring form.

Indeed, the Argentine hit four in the midweek 6-1 thumping of Eibar to take his league tally to nine already - more than 15 LaLiga teams have in total, and as many as Real have managed.

And although this is the sides' first LaLiga meeting, Messi has previous experience of netting against Girona, having been on target in a Barça B clash with the Blanquivermell way back in 2004.

As Barça look to make it six from six in Primera, however, Valverde was wary of the galvanising effect that the occasion could have on the hosts.

"We have to be careful with the festive air that surrounds this derby," he said on Friday. "They will be looking to enjoy the game and at the same time give everything, so we will have to be on our toes."

Girona vs Barcelona live stream online: potential line-ups

Girona XI: Iraizoz; Bernardo, Alcalá, Juanpe; Maffeo, Granell, Pons, Benítez; Portu, García; Stuani

Head coach: Pablo Machín

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Vidal, Messi, Suárez

Head coach: Ernesto Valverde

Girona vs Barcelona live stream online: betting

As expected, Barcelona are heavily backed by the bookies to take the three points at Montilivi, with a win for the visitors valued at just €1.25 per euro bet. Girona, meanwhile, are priced back at €12 per euro placed to claim a famous victory.

Place your bet on Girona vs Barcelona here.

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