Spanish Championship: Barcelona strengthens its lead with a difficult victory over Girona
Sunday – 7 Rajab 1444 AH – January 29, 2023 AD Issue No [
Pedri (third from left) and Barcelona’s winning goal (AFP)
Barcelona: «Middle East»
Barcelona strengthened its lead and moved away temporarily by 6 points from its arch-rival and direct chaser Real Madrid, by defeating its host Girona 1-0, yesterday, in the competitions of the nineteenth stage of the Spanish Football League. Barcelona owes winning the Catalan derby to its young midfielder, Pedri, who replaced Frenchman Ousmane Dembele, who was injured early, to score the only goal of the match in the 61st minute. Barcelona, who achieved its eighth consecutive victory in various competitions, raised its tally to 47 points, 6 points ahead of Real. Madrid, who receives Real Sociedad III at the top of the matches of this stage today. Girona dropped to twelfth place with 21 points.
The Catalan club has not tasted loss since its fall to Bayern Munich in the group stage of the European Champions League last October. Barcelona is competing on 3 fronts this season, as it is preparing for its expected confrontation against Manchester United in the “Europa League” supplement next month. And before his European entitlement at his “Camp Nou” stadium on February 16, he will play 3 matches in “La Liga” against Real Betis, Seville and Villarreal.
Barcelona missed the efforts of its Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who applies the suspension penalty for the third match after he received a red card against Osasuna in his last match last November, before stopping to play the World Cup Qatar 2022, in addition to Ferran Torres for the same reason, so Xavi pushed his player. Young Ansu Fati once again in the attack alongside Dembélé and Brazilian Rafinha on the wings.
In a sterile first half, Barcelona received a moral blow with the injury of Dembele, who left the field and was replaced by Pedri in the 25th minute, and waited until the first half hour to pose a threat with a shot from Fati over the crossbar after a passing error from the Girona defense. On the other hand, coach Mitchell’s men resisted Barcelona’s shy and slow attempts (4 shots, 2 of which were on goal). Pedri was according to his coach’s expectations, as he opened the scoring in the second half after a team and cross game from defender Jordi Alba, and a mistake from the goalkeeper, which the 20-year-old midfielder took advantage of to score in the 61st minute, in his fifth goal in the league this season.
Girona thought he had equalized, but defender Arnaud Martinez was offside the moment he scored the goal in the 65th minute, and the home team got three chances in 4 minutes (between 86 and 89) to equalize, but substitutes Tony Villa and after him Juan Carlos Martin, who was alone in the The 6-meter area and Joel Roca were successively wasted in front of Barcelona’s defense, which conceded only 6 times in “La Liga” this season. Cadiz beat Real Mallorca 2-0.