BARCELONA: Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 13 points despite being held to a goalless draw by mid-table Girona in their Catalan derby at the Camp Nou on Monday (Apr 10).
Barca came closest to scoring but Ronald Araujo’s shot in the first half did not completely cross the goalline before Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga clawed it clear in what was a largely uninspiring performance from the home side.
They moved up to 72 points from 28 games, 13 ahead of second-placed Real Madrid with 10 rounds remaining, while Girona are eight points clear of the relegation zone in 11th place.
Barcelona coach Xavi was hoping for a reaction from his side following their 4-0 loss to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final last week, but they struggled to break down a resolute Girona defence that had only kept one other La Liga clean sheet all season.
“It was a very tough game, Girona played really well. We did well in the high press, but again we could not score,” Xavi told reporters.
“It is a pity because we wanted to move 15 points clear of Real Madrid, but this is football. I think you have to value a lot the position we are in (at the top of La Liga).
“The responsibility to score is on all the team. We played a good game, we were just missing the goal. We tried everything but it was not possible today.”
Gazzaniga also had to clear the ball off his goalline after team mate Santiago Bueno played a stray back pass that would have nestled in the bottom corner, while Barca winger Raphinha fired wide when well placed at the back post.
Home defender Eric Garcia headed over from a free kick when he should have scored, but the best chance of the second half fell to the visitors.
Striker Taty Castellanos was played through one-on-one with Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but curled his shot wide when a simple square pass to team mate Viktor Tsygankov would have resulted in a tap-in for the latter.
“This is a difficult place to come, against a team that finds it easy to score goals,” Girona defender David Lopez said. “We had to play a very complete game not to concede. We resisted and take home a deserved point.
“The only negative is that we could not score. In these types of games you get one chance and if you don’t take it, you will not get another one.”
Barca travel to Getafe in their next fixture on Sunday, while Girona host Elche on the same day.