Girona 0-3 Barcelona: Luis Suarez and two own goals seal win
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 23/09/17 11:19pm
Barcelona made it six wins from six to move four points clear at the top of La Liga, but they were grateful for two own goals in their first Catalan derby against Girona.
Captain Aday Benitez and goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz inadvertently steered the ball into their own net to give Ernesto Valverde's side a two-goal cushion.
Luis Suarez sealed the victory after 69 minutes as he latched onto Sergi Roberto's long pass to tuck his shot inside the near post for his second goal of the season on a comfortable outing.
It was a historical night in Catalonia as Girona faced Barcelona for the first time in La Liga - and their first encounter since 1949 - with the hosts backed by a partisan crowd inside the Estadi Montilivi.
The home side were not overawed by their illustrious opponents with Douglas Luiz, in particular, causing problems in the early stages as the young Brazilian striker pounced on a loose pass from Paulinho to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen low to his right.
The visitors dominated possession, but they took the lead fortuitously on 17 minutes.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde made six changes to the side that won 6-1 at home to Eibar.Sergio Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Aleix Vidal, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez all came in for Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Lucas Digne, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez.
Jordi Alba showed good technique on the volley to meet Andres Iniesta's corner, but poor defending from Aday saw him slice the ball into his own net.
Girona did well to contain their opponents for the remainder of the half, with Barcelona often guilty of overplaying, but they were handed another slice of luck shortly after the re-start.
Aleix Vidal, on an emotional return to the starting line-up having been given time away from the club last season, set up the second, racing clear on the right before back-heeling the ball towards Suarez.
The striker, aware of the spin of the ball, opted to dummy the cutback, taking Iraizoz by surprise as the cross clipped off his legs and into the net.
If there was good fortune about Barcelona's first two goals, there could be no debating their third.
Roberto found Suarez with the long ball and the Uruguayan, played onside by Bernardo, made no mistake with his shot tucked inside Iraizoz's near post.
Man of the match - Luis Suarez
With Lionel Messi well marshalled by Pablo Maffeo throughout the match, it was Suarez who had the greater space to cause problems, and he duly got the goal his performance merited in the second half.
It appeared to be like being one of those nights for the Uruguayan with much of his best work being done in defending set pieces in his own penalty box, given the number of times he was adjudged offside.
But Suarez remained patient, producing an exquisite dummy from Vidal's cross to cause the second goal before helping himself to one of his own to seal the victory, reversing his shot in at the near post.
Barcelona now travel to face Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday before hosting Las Palmas in La Liga next Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Girona, meanwhile, face Celta Vigo on Friday night.
Pick your team for Brighton v Newcastle for free to win the guaranteed £5k jackpot.