Own goals help Barcelona win 3-0 at Girona to increase lead
GIRONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona was helped by two own goals from Girona as it eased to a 3-0 win and kept its perfect record in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Barcelona increased its lead of the league to four points after Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 to leapfrog the Andalucian club into second place.
Barcelona went ahead at Montilivi Stadium when Girona defender Aday Benitez deflected Jordi Alba’s off-target shot back into his net.
Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Aleix Vidal did more to help provoke a second goal three minutes after halftime, when Suarez deftly let Vidal’s dangerous short pass go through his legs, where it hit surprised goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and went into the net.
Suarez capped Barcelona’s sixth victory in as many league matches – to go with a victory over Juventus in the Champions League – when he was left all alone to take Sergi Roberto’s lobbed pass and beat Iraizoz.
It was a second goal in six matches for Suarez, who missed two matches because of a right knee injury.
The decision by Girona coach Pablo Machin to man-mark Lionel Messi with Pablo Maffeo succeeded in preventing the Barcelona star from adding to his best ever start to a Liga. Messi scored nine goals in the first five rounds.
”Messi worked for the team,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. ”I like the team spirit we are showing. We are mentally focused to get to work.”
Girona, which is playing in its first season in the topflight, was left in 15th place with just one win.
Barcelona visits Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday.