February 26, 2024

Leaders Barcelona made it eight wins in nine LaLiga matches as Pedri’s second-half goal secured a slender 1-0 victory over Girona on Saturday.

Xavi’s side struggled in the first half at Estadi Montilivi, with their frustration compounded by the loss of Ousmane Dembele to injury before the break.

They improved after half-time and sealed three points just past the hour when Pedri marked his 100th appearance for the club with his fifth league goal of the season.

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The result moved Barca six points clear at the league summit, although Real Madrid can reduce the deficit back to three when they host third-placed Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barca suffered a blow in the 26th minute when Dembele pulled up holding his left leg, with the France international replaced by Pedri.

The 20-year-old midfielder initially did little to spark life into Xavi’s spluttering side, who went in at the break having mustered just two tame efforts on target.

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He came to the fore following the interval, though, tapping in from close range in the 61st minute after Paulo Gazzaniga failed to deal with Jordi Alba’s low cross from the left.

Girona responded well to that setback, with Michel’s side putting significant pressure on the Barca backline in the closing stages.

An unmarked Ivan Martin inexplicably fired wide from six yards late on, with the visitors ultimately scraping maximum points as they bid to win their first title since the 2018-19 season

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