Sports Desk, Oct 9 (EFE).- Pedri Gonzalez scored the lone goal for Barcelona in the team’s win over Celta Vigo, putting the squad at the top of the La Liga table, ahead of Real Madrid on goal differential, in a match in which their rivals had their best chances in the second half and played better than the score reveals.
It was Barca’s worst outing of the season so far, despite the win, given that they allowed Celta five or six chances any pair of which could have put them over the top, including a goal disallowed in the 70th minute, although Marc-Andre ter Stegen and the post did well defending the net at Spotify Camp Nou before 81,500 fans.
Barca did manage to control the match in the first half and to sneak out of the second with no harm done. And the victory got the team back into first place and enabled them to regain some confidence as they prepare for a decisive Champions League match vs. Inter Milan that, if the chips fall wrong, could see them eliminated despite their seven consecutive wins in La Liga play.
Pedri’s tally came when he fired into the open net after Celta’s Unai Nuñez wasn’t able to completely clear Gavi Paez’s low crossing shot.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez expressed disappointment with the team’s performance, saying after the match that his men should have put the game away before the intermission.
Elsewhere in Spain, Cadiz and Espanyol battled to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining match at Nuevo Mirandilla in the southwestern Spanish coastal city, with Joselu scoring a brace for the visitors.
The locals controlled play during the first half and the final stretch while the visitors seemed to be on top during a lengthy period after the break.
Victor Chust scored first for Cadiz in minute 41, but after play resumed after the break Joselu evened things up in the 51st minute and found the twine once again 16 minutes later, only to have Lucas Perez bring the home team back from behind in the 77th minute for the 2-2 result.
And Valladolid and Real Betis had to settle for a ranking point each in their scoreless draw, with Betis playing one man down from minute 38 after Pezzella was sent off on a red card after VAR review and both teams focusing more on defending than on manufacturing chances.
Play went back and forth at Jose Zorilla stadium, with each team showing considerable energy at times, but neither managing to create much danger for their rivals’ good defensive structures.