Pedri earns subdued Barca nervy derby win at Girona
Barcelona midfielder Pedri Gonzalez earned his facet a tense 1-0 Catalan derby victory at Girona on Saturday, opening a six-point hole forward of Actual Madrid on the high of La Liga.
With Carlo Ancelotti’s facet internet hosting high-flying Actual Sociedad on Sunday, Barca put their rivals underneath strain to get a outcome and sustain with them within the title race.
Pedri netted the one purpose from shut vary after an hour at an icy Montilivi on his a hundredth look for Barcelona, after changing the injured Ousmane Dembele.
The French ahead limped off within the first half, pulling up after a dash and asking to get replaced, a blow for Barcelona contemplating his excellent current kind.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez stated the winger appeared to have a quadriceps harm.
Regardless of the slim margin of victory, Xavi believes his staff is considerably stronger than when he took over in November 2021.
“Now we have to be self-critical and enhance in some ways, however we’re blissful, we’ve to have a look at the place we got here from,” Xavi informed reporters.
“The change to the staff and a number of gamers is huge, we’ve many issues to enhance on, however we’re on the fitting path.
“I believe the (largest distinction) is the arrogance of the gamers — after we arrived their confidence was on the ground.”
Defensively the Catalans have been sturdy, conceding simply six league targets this season and successful their final three matches 1-0 — they’re unbeaten in 13 consecutive matches throughout all competitions.
“I believe at grounds like this you must win, nevertheless you do it,” Barcelona defender Jules Kounde informed DAZN.
“We will play higher, however in these away video games, in opposition to opponents taking part in properly, successful is significant.
“I believe retaining a clear sheet is vital. The entire staff works defensively, not simply the again 4. Everyone seems to be working properly.”
– Centurion –
The league leaders had been nonetheless with out suspended Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, lacking his last sport after a three-match ban.
Girona created the primary likelihood after simply three minutes, Rodrigo Riquelme’s easy by way of ball feeding Yan Couto, whose shot was blocked.
Dembele additionally had an effort deflected away on the different finish after Ansu Fati received the ball from goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
The French winger, who fired Barcelona into the Copa del Rey semi-finals in opposition to Actual Sociedad midweek, was pressured off injured after 25 minutes.
Dembele’s first years at Barcelona had been hampered by accidents however since Xavi’s arrival, the ahead had been in a position to keep match and firing.
Xavi introduced on Jordi Alba for Marcos Alonso on the break and it made the distinction for Barcelona, who had been sluggish.
The left-back arrange Pedri’s opener with a cross from the left, tapped in by the Spaniard on the again put up on the finish of the primary incisive transfer Barcelona had put collectively all sport.
Pedri, whom Xavi had meant to relaxation, reached a century of appearances for Barca at simply 20 years outdated and celebrated together with his fifteenth purpose for the membership.
“I do know I’ve to enhance in entrance of purpose (however) proper now they’re going in for me,” Pedri informed DAZN.
Ronald Araujo headed a cross off his personal purpose line underneath strain as Girona pushed for an equaliser, throwing males ahead.
Ivan Martin missed a superb likelihood in stoppage time for the hosts as Barcelona misplaced all management of the sport however survived a nervy finale to earn the win.
Girona additionally appealed for a penalty as Eric Garcia tangled with Cristhian Stuani within the space.
“There are conditions within the field during which these tangles are given and generally not,” stated Girona coach Michel, who was despatched off in stoppage time for complaining a few foul by Frenkie de Jong.
“As we speak, the ultimate outcome shouldn’t be as a result of refereeing efficiency, I choose to say these video games are received by the gamers.”
Earlier Cadiz climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Actual Mallorca.