La Liga: Barca held by Girona but extend lead to 13 points


FC Barcelona failed to open a 15-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga but nevertheless extended their advantage to 13 points after a 0-0 draw at home to Girona on Monday night.

Despite the lack of goals, it was an entertaining game, although Barca clearly missed the injured Ousmane Dembele and Pedri once again.

The first half may not have produced any goals, but it had plenty of entertaining football, with both sides creating chances.

Viktor Tsygankov fired just wide for Girona in the opening minute, while Robert Lewandowski and the lively Ansu Fati had efforts just wide at the other end before Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga had to react quickly after Santiago Bueno’s loose back-pass looked to be heading into the net, a Xinhua report said.

Taty Castellanos then fired into the Barca side-netting with the match only in its 12th minute, while at the other end, Raphinha dragged his effort wide.

Neither side had the game under control, with the best chance of the half falling to Ronald Araujo, whose header was clawed off the line by Gazzaniga – although it needed a VAR review to show the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

Franck Kessie replaced Sergi Roberto at the start of the second half to try and give Barca more creativity in midfield, but Girona had the first chance of the second half when Castellanos was put clean through only to slice his effort wide with only Ter Stegen to beat.

Gazzaniga was then out of his area fast to frustrate Raphinha, who then saw an effort blocked by David Lopez.

Both sides made changes, with Jordi Alba and Ferran Torres on for Barca and Ricardo Riquelme for Girona, but the game continued to be a succession of ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhs’, rather than clear chances in the closing minutes until the fifth minute of injury time when Gavi headed just over and Lewandowski saw a back-heel scrambled away from the line.

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