GIRONA – On Saturday, Pedri scored his third goal in as many games to give Barcelona a crucial 1-0 win away at Girona, securing Xavi Hernandez’s team’s lead in the LaLiga standings.
The midfielder scored just after the hour mark, diverting Paulo Gazzaniga’s cross from close range into his own goal after Jordi Alba had set it up.
In the short term, Real Madrid will trail Barcelona by six points as the Catalans successfully fended off a late Girona attack. Real Madrid hosts Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
1. Despite without offensive players, Barca scores points
The suspension of Ferran Torres and 22-goal leader Robert Lewandowski made Barca’s job more difficult, even though they had no business visiting the frigid, windy Estadi Montilivi. They then suffered an injury to Ousmane Dembele in the first half, ending their threat to score against a Girona squad that was willing to play on the counterattack and had been in fine form.
Because neither side made much progress in the first half, it seemed as if a tie may occur. Yan Couto missed the best chance for the home side early on, while Ansu Fati missed the target for Barca after a defensive error.
Before the half, Xavi replaced Marcos Alonso with Jordi Alba to make up for the left’s lack of breadth, and the change swiftly paid dividends. Alba had manoeuvred himself into a number of favourable situations before his cross led to the first goal. To help Ansu and Raphinha’s assault as well, Frenkie de Jong stepped up his assistance.
The goal encouraged Girona to play more aggressively, but Barca held on for a 14th clean sheet in 18 LaLiga games this season thanks to a header off the line by Ronald Araujo, some strong defence from Jules Kounde, and a poor finishing effort.
2. Pedri is the subject of “Potter’s” 100th appearance.
He is fulfilling Xavi’s wish to play in more offensive positions by making his 100th appearance with Barcelona at the age of 20. His goal, which handed Barca its second win in a row, was proof that he was in the right position at the right moment. Also, against Getafe last Sunday, he scored the lone goal.
The radio critics could only yell that when Montilivi became silent after his strike due to his on-stage manner, earning him the nickname “Pedri Potter.”
3. Effective Girona utterly fails.
Despite previously this year’s tie with Madrid, Girona was unable to overcome Barcelona. They made a heroic fight after falling behind, but for the third straight match in a row, they were beaten by their Catalan rivals at Montilivi in LaLiga.
They’ll look back on missed chances later in the game. As stoppage time approached, Valery blasted over afte+r Ivan Martin missed the best of them.
In the top league, though, Girona continues to lose to Barca at home. Coach Michel, who was fired late in the game, will be unnerved by the four-point gap to the bottom three, but they have shown time and time again this season that they should have more than enough to stay up.