Gerard Pique DEFENDS controversial goal celebration

Feb 06, 2018, 14:13
Gerard Pique DEFENDS controversial goal celebration

Highlights of Barcelona's 1-1 draw with Espanyol in La Liga.

Gerard Pique is likely to miss this week's Copa del Rey semifinal against Valencia with a knee injury and faces a race against time to be 100 percent fit for the Champions League game against Chelsea later this month.

"We had chances in both games, it came down to a team which had a lot of tools to overcome their rivals", he said.

Elsewhere, Angel Correa's thunderbolt earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Valencia, helping them to close the gap on Barcelona to nine points.

Barcelona's Luis Suarez curled a free-kick narrowly over, although Espanyol thought they had scored in the first minute of the second half when the ball had gone out before Baptistao cut back for Esteban Granero to convert. "That is disrespectful. Telling them to be quiet was the least I could do".

But, with Ernesto Valverde throwing Messi into the fray Barcelona did manage to get back on to level terms.

As a result, they have broken their own longest unbeaten run-of 21 matches-from the start of a La Liga season, and which they had achieved in the 2009/10 season, under then manager Pep Guardiola.

"We have had better performances but this draw is good considering the size of the opponent".

Espanyol made three changes as Oscar Duarte was replaced by Naldo while Jose Jurado and Sergi Dardar came in for Mario Hermoso and Sergio Garcia.

The Espanyol crowd was furious after Pique's celebration on Sunday.

But the way they defended and barely offered Spain's best attack a sniff at goal will be encouraging for a team that's languishing in 15th place. Moreno had to be contained as he tried to go after Pique.

Issued with various insults during the game over his relationship with singer Shakira, accompanied with claimed racial slurs from Espanyol fans to central defensive partner Samuel Umtiti - the Spanish global silenced the crowd by putting his finger to his mouth.

If that wasn't enough, Messi provided a flawless set-piece delivery from the left-hand side to assist Pique, who enjoyed the goal more than most given how much abuse he'd received from the crowd.

It was the fifth straight game without a loss for Leganes, which rested several regular starters ahead of its game at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semifinals on Wednesday.

"Saying they play in Cornella is not disrespectful, it's a fact". Despite losing the first leg at Espanyol, 1-0, Barcelona won the tie thanks to a 2-0 victory in Camp Nou.