Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Gerard Pique strikes late to keep Barcelona unbeaten

Gerard Pique strikes late to keep Barcelona unbeaten

Barcelona travel to Espanyol on Sunday, looking for their 19th win of the La Liga season.

"We have a responsibility as players, but we are also humans and we react to what happens", Pique said.

However, Pique insisted he was merely stating a geographical fact and complained about the lack of action taken against insults aimed at him and his family during past Catalan derbies. "There is a limit to everything".

Ousmane Dembele returned to training with Barcelona on Saturday as he continues his recovery from injury.

"Complaints are part of the rivalry".

With the rain pouring down and the pitch heavily waterlogged, Messi's first involvement in the game resulted in him evading a couple of crunching challenges from the opposition.

Substitute Garcia picked up a loose ball before delivering a fantastic cross from the right into the area as a waiting Moreno headed home past Ter Stegen to score his 12th goal of the season.

Espanyol had lost all three of their matches since beating Barca - including a 2-0 second-leg defeat at the Nou Camp to crash out of the cup - while Ernesto Valverde's treble-chasers were looking to consolidate an 11-point lead at the LaLiga summit.

The France star, who is the third most expensive player in history, was injured during Barcelona's last La Liga outing, a 4-2 win at Real Sociedad.

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After that match, Pique's tone when talking about Espanyol infuriated rival fans and prompted an official complaint by the club.

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta defended Gerard Pique after his celebrations in their 1-1 draw at Espanyol.

Pique, whistled throughout the contest, signalled for the home fans to be quiet and he was subsequently involved in an altercation with Moreno in the closing stages as the defender revelled in his role as the pantomime villain.

Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores could hand Carlos Sanchez his debut after signing the Colombia midfielder on loan from Fiorentina. "His gesture was what it was".

Pique's only other goal this season was also against Espanyol.

Leganes and Getafe could not manage more than a 0-0 draw in the derby between rivals based just south of Madrid. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will come back fresh in goal, after resting midweek in the Copa del Rey.

Seemingly with one eye on Friday's (NZDT) Copa semi-final second leg against Valencia, Ernesto Valverde opted to start Lionel Messi on the bench and the Argentine genius had only been on the field seven minutes when Moreno struck.

Getafe, 10th in the standings, is unbeaten in four matches.

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