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Two own goals help Barca to secure Catalan derby win, Real bounce back

24 Sep 2017, 03:35

Agencies
Barcelona’s Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their third goal. Photo: Reuters

An own goal either side of the break and a second-half Luis Suarez strike ensured Barcelona maintained their 100 per cent start to the La Liga season with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to Catalan rivals Girona on Saturday.

With political tension rising in the region following a self-declared referendum on independence from Spain, the first-ever league meeting between the two sides started amid cries of support for the cause, and some fans carried Catalan separatist flags, reports Reuters.

Barca went ahead after 17 minutes as Girona captain Aday Benitez turned Jordi Alba’s wayward shot into his own goal.

Girona goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz inadvertently turned Aleix Vidal’s backheeled cross into his own goal shortly after the restart before Suarez clinically wrapped up the points 21 minutes from the end.

With six wins from six games, Barca have a four-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who defeated Sevilla 2-0 in the day’s early kickoff.

Champions Real Madrid moved up to fourth with a 2-1 win away to bottom-of-the-table Alaves but still trail Barca by seven points.

Real Madrid remain seven points behind Barca thanks to Dani Ceballos’s double on his full debut to bounce back from a shock midweek defeat by Real Betis with a 2-1 win at Alaves on Saturday to move up to fourth, reports the AFP.

At Mendizorroza, Madrid were once again wasteful in front of goal, but still sneaked by an Alaves side that remain without a point after six games.

‘Today we needed the three points. We are not in brilliant form, but for sure we will play better on other days,’ said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.

Ceballos was one of three changes made to the side that lost to Betis by Zidane as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were left on the bench ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund.

And the Spanish under-21 international settled Madrid’s nerves after just 10 minutes as he caught Fernando Pacheco flat-footed.

Alaves did register their first goal of the season five minutes before half-time when Manu Garcia met Munir El Haddadi’s cross flush to power a header into the top corner.

Madrid retook the lead just three minutes later, though, as Ceballos pounced on a poor punch from Pacheco to fire into the bottom corner.

Real should have ensured a far more comfortable afternoon after the break as Pacheco made a great save to deny Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo struck the woodwork twice and Sergio Ramos blazed over with the goal at his mercy.

Yet, Alaves could also have snatched a first point of the season as Alfonso Pedraza’s deflected effort hit the bar before Pedraza struck the post when clean through on goal.

‘When you go away having only scored two goals for the chances we had it isn’t a lot,’ added Zidane.

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