Barcelona 0-0 Girona: Misfiring Blaugrana miss chance to go 15 points clear

By Sports Desk April 10, 2023

Barcelona missed the chance to move 15 points clear at the LaLiga summit after being held to a goalless draw at home to Girona on Monday.

Real Madrid succumbed to a 3-2 defeat to Villarreal on Saturday but Xavi's Blaugrana failed to fire two days later, leaving Barca 13 points clear of the second-placed Los Blancos.

A fine Paulo Gazzaniga display kept the energetic hosts at bay, while Valentin Castellanos wasted the best chance of the game when curling wide in the second half at Camp Nou.

The stalemate ended a four-match winning league run for Barca, but Xavi's side remain unbeaten at home in LaLiga this season as the Blaugrana march towards the title.

Viktor Tsygankov sliced a presentable chance on the volley wide as Girona started positively, although Barca should have twice broke the deadlock in the opening 10 minutes.

Robert Lewandowski curled narrowly over after an Ansu Fati offload, while a despairing Gazzaniga dive saved Santiago Bueno from inexplicably passing into his own goal.

Another smart Gazzaniga stop denied Raphinha before the Girona goalkeeper – almost inside his own net – somehow clawed away Ronald Araujo's flick from the resulting corner.

Eric Garcia headed over from close range immediately after the interval but Girona should have struck first shortly after.

Castellanos evaded Barca's offside trap but placed wide with just Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat, with Girona left to rue a missed chance that could have grabbed a memorable victory against their Catalan rivals, who themselves squandered some promising opportunities late on.

 

What does it mean? Xavi warning not heeded

Xavi warned his Barca players in his pre-match press conference to not get sloppy in search of a 15-point lead at the top of LaLiga, though the Blaugrana stars failed to heed that warning.

Girona were good value for a hard-fought point, albeit the visitors may look back with regret after Castellanos spurned a brilliant chance to secure their first league win over Barca since September 2017.

Barca remain firmly on course for the title but profligate performances such as this show there is still much to work on for Xavi's young Blaugrana.

Rampant Raphinha efforts in vain

Raphinha appeared to be everywhere as Barca tried and failed to breach an impressive Girona defence that was led by Gazzaniga, who made a trio of brilliant saves.

The Brazil international carved out a game-leading four big chances, including two brilliant set-piece deliveries, but his hard-working showing ended without deserved reward.

Careless Castellanos

Castellanos had time and space to think how to beat Ter Stegen with a massive second-half chance, though somehow failed to hit the target after racing through one-on-one.

That capped a frustrating showing for the Girona striker, who completed just five passes, won a meagre two duels and recorded only 14 touches before his 60th-minute withdrawal.

What's next?

Barca visit Getafe on Sunday, when Girona host Elche.

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