Barca’s perfect start halted

Messi

Messi

BARCELONA were unable to make it five wins from five games in La Liga as Girona earned a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou – although it could have been worse for the hosts after they were reduced to 10 men in the first half.

Lionel Messi’s opener looked set to spark a routine win for Barca, with the hosts well on top and in control, but Clement Lenglet’s straight red, awarded after a lengthy VAR review, for an elbow levelled the playing field and changed the dynamic of the contest.

Girona equalised right at the end of the first half when Cristhian Stuani nipped in front of Gerard Pique to get on the end of a cross into the box and finish underneath Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. The Uruguayan added a second after the break, firing high into the net after Portu had left Pique on his backside.

The Barcelona centre back made amends by restoring parity for Barcelona, looping an opportunistic header into the back of the net with just under half an hour left to play, but Girona, in the face of intense pressure, held on for a valuable point that sees Ernesto Valverde’s side go joint-top of La Liga with Real Madrid on 13 points.

The return fixture is set to be the first Spanish top-flight match to be played in the United States. – Eurosport

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