Barcelona downs Leganes 2-0 in Spanish soccer action

Barcelona, Spain, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- Ansu Fati’s fifth tally in La Liga play was of incalculable value for Barcelona because it served to open the scoring in the team’s 2-0 win over last-place Leganes at an empty Camp Nou stadium.

Barcelona got off to a slow start, showing little energy in the early going until Fati woke the team up on the only rebound from Quique Setien’s shots in the first half, firing a low shot from inside the area in the 42nd minute.

French forward Antoine Griezmann had a goal cancelled in the 64th minute after officials reviewed the video and found that Nelson Semedo was offside before he fired a crossing shot to his teammate.

Leo Messi scored Barca’s second goal in the 69th minute on a penalty kick, the tally being his 21st of the season and his 629th goal for Barca.

The score came after Messi was fouled following a run starting near midfield, and on the penalty kick he blasted a left-footed shot right into the corner.

Messi is now seven goals ahead of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in La Liga scoring.

Messi had also scored against Mallorca last Saturday in Barca’s 4-0 triumphant first game after a three-plus-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The most recent outing for Barca without any fans in the stands was in October 2017 against Las Palmas, a 3-0 victory for the Catalonian squad in a match played on the same day of the controversial independence vote for the northeastern Spanish region, a vote that the Madrid government declared unconstitutional.

Leganes wasn’t able to mount much of an attack against the Barcelona boys, its two best scoring opportunities coming within the first 15 minutes on the pitch, one of which was blocked by Clement Lenglet just in front of the goal line and another which hit the post.

Luis Suarez was sent in in the 54th minute to spell Fati, having returned to play last week after recovering from knee surgery.

With the win, Barcelona widened its lead over Real Madrid to five points in the La Liga rankings in the runup. The Madrid squad is scheduled to face off against Valencia at home on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Barca goes up against third-place Sevilla on Friday.

A minute of silence was observed before the match began to honor the tens of thousands of Spanish victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.


FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto (Semedo, min. 54), Pique (Umtiti, min. 73), Lenglet, Junior; Busquets (Arturo Vidal, min. 63), Rakitic, Arthur (Riqui Puig, min. 73); Messi, Ansu Fati (Suarez, min.54) and Griezmann.

Leganes: Cuellar; Tarín, Bustinza, Awaziem; Silva (Kevin Rodrigues, min.71), Recio (Bryan Gil, min. 85), Ruben Perez, Roque Mesa (Assale, min. 46), Aitor Rubial, Eraso (min. Ibrahim Amadou, min. 63); and Guerrero (Carrillo, min. 71).

Goals: 1-0, min. 42: Ansu Fati. 2-0, min. 69: Messi, on penalty kick.

Referee: Juan Martinez Munuera gave yellow cards to Bustinza (min. 37), Ruben Perez (min. 67), Awaziem (min. 82), Umtiti (min. 83), who will be out for the upcoming match due to too many yellows, Riqui Puig (min. 84), Lenglet (min. 84), Junior (min. 89) and Rakitic (min. 90+3). He ejected Javier Aguirre in the 95th minute.

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