Monday, 16 July 2018 07:03 GMT

Barcelona remain perfect in Girona

(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Barcelona maintained their perfect start to La Liga with a sixth straight win as Luis Suarez and two own goals secured a 3-0 win at Girona in a match laced with political tension on Saturday night.
Real Madrid remain seven points behind Barca thanks to Dani Ceballos's double on his full debut to bounce back from a shock midweek defeat by Real Betis with a 2-1 win at Alaves on Saturday to move up to fourth.
Girona were hosting Barca in a Catalan derby for the first time in the top flight, but a one-sided game on the field was marked by persistent chants in favour of independence for Catalonia. Catalonia's pro-separatist president Carles Puigdemont was in attendance, whilst the pro-independence Estelada flag was waved by sections of both supports.
'The game had its difficulties, said Barca boss Ernesto Valverde. 'It's a derby, there was a great atmosphere, tension. It is normal, but we played well.
On the field there was much less controversy as Barca were rarely troubled after Aday Benitez turned Jordi Alba's wayward shot into his own net after just 17 minutes. Another own goal extended their advantage three minutes after half-time when goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz was fooled by Suarez's dummy from Aleix Vidal's cross. And Suarez rounded off the scoring himself with just his second goal of the season by whipping the ball into Iraizoz's near post from Sergi Roberto's pass over the top.
At Mendizorroza, Madrid were once again wasteful in front of goal, but still sneaked by an Alaves side that remain without a point after six games. 'Today we needed the three points. We are not in brilliant form, but for sure we will play better on other days, said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.
Ceballos was one of three changes made to the side that lost to Betis by Zidane as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were left on the bench ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund. And the Spanish under-21 international settled Madrid's nerves after just 10 minutes as he caught Fernando Pacheco flat-footed.
Alaves did register their first goal of the season five minutes before half-time when Manu Garcia met Munir El Haddadi's cross flush to power a header into the top corner. Madrid retook the lead just three minutes later, though, as Ceballos pounced on a poor punch from Pacheco to fire into the bottom corner.
Real should have ensured a far more comfortable afternoon after the break as Pacheco made a great save to deny Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo struck the woodwork twice and Sergio Ramos blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
Yet, Alaves could also have snatched a first point of the season as Alfonso Pedraza's deflected effort hit the bar before Pedraza struck the post when clean through on goal. 'When you go away having only scored two goals for the chances we had it isn't a lot, added Zidane.
Earlier, Diego Costa was an interested spectator as Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Sevilla into second thanks to goals from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann in a 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano. Costa won't be able to feature until January after completing his prolonged return to the club from Chelsea for a reported club record fee of 55mn euros ($66mn), plus 10mn euros in add-ons.
Yesterday, Espanyol beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 for its second win in the Spanish league after a poor start to the season. Leo Baptistao opened the scoring five minutes into the match at the RCDE Stadium in Barcelona, helping the hosts to move further from the bottom of the standings.
Espanyol had earned only one point from its first three matches, but was coming off a win against Celta Vigo and a draw at Villarreal. It reached 12th place with the victory on Sunday.
An own-goal by Deportivo La Coruna defender Alejandro Arribas gave Espanyol a 2-0 lead at halftime. Striker Gerard Moreno added a brace in the second half after Celso Borges had put the visitors on the board. Deportivo was coming off its first victory of the season against Alaves in the previous round. It has lost four of its six matches and is inside the relegation zone.
Getafe scored three goals early in the second half to rout Villarreal 4-0 and win its first home game of the season. Angel Rodriguez scored in the 54th minute, Jorge Molina in the 64th and Markel Bergara in the 67th. Rodriguez closed the scoring in second-half injury time.
Getafe's other win had come at Leganes in the third round. Villarreal was unbeaten in its last four matches. It had opened with two consecutive losses.

Spanish La Liga results
Espanyol 4 (Baptistao 5, Arribas 22-og, Moreno 72-pen, 90) Deportivo la Coruna 1 (Borges 53)
Getafe 4 (Rodriguez 54, 90+1, Molina 64, Bergara 67) Villarreal 0
Eibar 0 Celta Vigo 4 (Cabral 17, Sergi Gomez 23, Hernandez 39, Wass 72)
Las Palmas 0 Leganes 2 (Beauvue 47, Eraso 90+6)
Played Saturday
Atletico Madrid 2 (Carrasco 46, Griezmann 70) Sevilla 0
Alaves 1 (Manu Garcia 40) Real Madrid 2 (Ceballos 10, 43)
Malaga 3 (Rolan 35, 84, Baysse 81) Athletic Bilbao 3 (Aduriz 4-pen, Williams 51, 70)
Girona 0 Barcelona 3 (Benitez 17-og, Iraizoz 48-og, Suarez 69)


  Barcelona remain perfect in Girona

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