Barcelona edge Girona 1-0 to widen lead in LaLiga
Sports Desk, Jan 28 (EFE).- FC Barcelona eked out a 1-0 victory over 12th-place Girona on Saturday to extend their winning streak to eight in all competitions and go 6 points clear atop LaLiga.
But defending champions Real Madrid can narrow the gap to 3 points with a win Sunday against third-place Real Sociedad, who are coming off an extra-time loss to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal.
The visitors had the lion’s share of possession, yet Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga had to make only two saves in the first half, dealing easily with efforts from Ousmane Dembele (15th minute) and Pedri (41st).
Perhaps a bigger worry for Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez at the break was the injury that forced Dembele – hero of the Copa del Rey tie – to come off before the half hour in favor of Pedri, playing his 100th match for the Blaugrana.
With Dembele hurt and top striker Robert Lewandowski unavailable due to a three-game LaLiga suspension, Xavi’s options were limited.
Even so, the coach made what would prove to be a decisive substitution at the start of the second half, replacing Marcos Alonso with Jordi Alba on the back line.
Just after the hour mark, Alba delivered a cross into the box for Pedri and the midfielder connected to put Barcelona up 1-0.
An apparent equalizer for Girona in the 65th minute was disallowed for an offside and Marc-Andre ter Stegen smothered an attempt by Cristhian Stuani in the 96th minute to secure all 3 points for Barcelona. EFE asm/dr