Barcelona 2-2 Girona REPORT: Gerard Pique saves 10-man Barca after Cristhian Stuani double
Barcelona’s 100 percent winning start to the season came to a halt on Sunday when they were held to a 2-2 La Liga draw by Girona on Sunday, having been reduced to playing the final 55 minutes with 10 men.
The result meant they lost their two-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the table, with both teams on 13 points after five games.
Lionel Messi gave the champions the lead in the 19th minute with a first-time shot after a lay off from Chile international Arturo Vidal and came close to doubling the lead after dancing through a maze of defenders but saw his shot saved.
Barca’s strong start was derailed when defender Clement Lenglet was sent off 35 minutes into his first league start for the club after elbowing Pere Pons, and Girona took advantage right before the interval when Cristhian Stuani levelled.
Uruguayan striker Stuani struck again in the 51st to give Girona an unlikely lead, but Gerard Pique climbed above two defenders to level in the 63rd.
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Portu becomes the latest Girona player to be booked after protesting with the referee.
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Pique has his name taken by the referee after conceding a foul on Alcala.
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Busquets tries to weave his way through the Girona defence and hits the deck under pressure from Muniesa but the referee is not interested in the appeals for a penalty.
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Barcelona will look to return to winning ways in their midweek clash on the road against Leganes, while Girona will be aiming to extend their three-match unbeaten run when they host Real Betis.
A superb match finishes level and Girona end Barcelona’s 100 per cent record at the start of the 2018-19 campaign. Lenglet’s first-half dismissal proved to be decisive as Stuani netted either side of the interval to cancel out Messi’s opener, before Pique’s header saved the blushes of the defending champions.
90+3 minsminute by minute
FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 2-2 GIRONA
90+1 minsminute by minute
The fourth official has signalled three minutes of added time.
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Girona have put everyone behind the ball and are showing no desire to attack, as they look to hold onto what would be a very valuable point earned away from home against the defending champions.
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WIDE! Coutinho shifts the ball into a shooting position from outside the area and tries to curl into the far corner of the net with his right foot but sees his attempt fly past the wrong side of the post.
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Third and final change for Girona, as Portu is replaced by Doumbia.
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Seven Barcelona players have scored in LaLiga so far this season, more than any other side in Spain’s top-flight.
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Coutinho goes direct from the resulting corner but Pique is penalised for a foul in the middle.
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OVER! Suarez tries to beat Bono from distance but the effort is deflected over the bar for a corner. The hosts again go short before Messi floats the ball into the middle, where Pique heads it down for Umtiti but his attempt is blocked.
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Girona, on the rare openings where they do get forward, cannot find the space to threaten.
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Inside the final 15 minutes now and Girona are struggling to retain possession, inviting pressure from the likes of Messi and Suarez – which is always a dangerous tactic.
74 minsminute by minute
Barcelona are banging on the door and Girona look to be extremely stretched. There is certainly more goals in this and, at this moment, it looks likely that they will come from the hosts.
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Second change of the game for Girona, who replace Granell with Luiz.
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Stuani is the first player to score a brace against both Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga in a calendar year in the 21st century.
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Messi again strikes for goal from the free-kick but slips as he takes the shot, sending the ball looping into the arms of Bono.
Stuani second goal in pics
68 minsminute by minute
Alcala becomes the third Girona player to be booked as he concedes a foul on Messi, again conceding a free-kick in a dangerous position.
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Despite all of Barcelona’s talent and possession, Girona cannot be overlooked and continue to be a danger as they benefit from the advantage over the ten-man side.
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The perfect response from a central defender who has had a very tough evening. Pique was exposed for both of Girona’s goals but he may well have redeemed himself with that header.
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SAVE! Messi tries again from a free-kick but is thwarted by Bono, who pushes the ball behind for a corner.
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GOAL! 2-2! Girona cannot get the ball away following the corner and Barcelona put the ball back into the danger zone, with Suarez forcing a save from Bono that sends the ball looping into the air and Pique rises highest in the area to head home into an empty net.
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OFF THE BAR! A clumsy challenge from Espinosa on Suarez concedes a free-kick in a dangerous position, given Messi a chance to strike at goal. He curls for the top corner but sees his attempt bounce off the top of the crossbar.
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Juanpe is beaten by Suarez and catches the striker, conceding a free-kick in another dangerous area and picking up a booking.
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Time for Barcelona’s changes, the first of which sees Coutinho replace his compatriot Arthur.