Barcelona leaves painful cup elimination followed by bloodless 0-0
Barcelona suffered an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat against archrival Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup last week. Every reason to present the public with something good in Monday’s league game with Girona. But the La Liga frontrunner was unable to do so: it was a bloodless 0-0.
The points loss did not affect coach Xavi’s uninspired men very much. After Saturday’s home defeat by Real Madrid against Villarreal, that one “deserved” point even put them ahead of the first pursuer, who now face a deficit of thirteen points.
Already in the first minutes, Barcelona had to watch their step in the face of some attacks by the little Catalan brother. Even in that same initial phase, Robert Lewandowski shot rakishly over the Girona goal, which could only just be kept clean by goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga when a return ball from Santiago Bueno had already passed him.
The home side, still without the injured Frenkie de Jong, thought they could still go into halftime with a lead after a mediocre first half. At the far post, Ronald Araújo extended a corner kick with a nick, which was denied by Gazzaniga, but according to many people it went beyond the goal line. The referee, however, did not agree.
After halftime, things did not get any better on the Barça side, and the deep-posted Taty Castellanos even seemed to be on his way to the 0-1. But instead of involving the sprinting along Viktor Tsygankov in the completion, the Argentine shot wide eye to eye with goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.
Barcelona did put some pressure on the Girona defense in the closing stages, but they never got into serious trouble. Even a desperate attempt by Lewandowski with the heel in the last minute of extra time did not end up between the posts.