Barcelona go top of LaLiga in Pique’s final home match

Sports Desk, Nov 5 (EFE).- Gerard Pique, who has hoisted 30 trophies in his 14 seasons with Barcelona, ended his storied career on a high note Saturday as the Blaugrana beat Almeria to take provisional possession of first place in LaLiga.

After a rare missed penalty by Robert Lewandowski in the first half, the Catalan club rolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory against the 15th-place side.

Pique, regarded as one of the finest central defenders in the history of the game, received a standing ovation from the crowd at Camp Nou when he was subbed off in the 83rd minute of his 615th match with FC Barcelona.

The 35-year-old Barcelona captain announced Thursday that the game with Almeria would be his last and coach Xavi Hernandez named him to the starting lineup for only the fourth time this season.

The hosts had 70 percent possession and outshot the visitors 27-4, but Almeria keeper Fernando kept Barcelona off the scoreboard until the 48th minute, when Ousmane Dembele scored with an assist from Sergio Busquets.

Frenkie de Jong made it 2-0 just past the hour mark and Barcelona improved to 34 points, 2 better than defending champions Real Madrid, who can reclaim the lead with a win Sunday against Rayo Vallecano.

Third-place Atletico Madrid host Espanyol, while Real Betis – level on points with the Colchoneros – will face struggling Sevilla in the Seville derby. EFE jap/dr

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