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Barcelona beats Sporting Gijon 1-0 in Spain

Barcelona beats Sporting Gijon 1-0 in Spain

Pedro Rodriguez scored to give Barcelona a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday and extend its unbeaten run to 20 matches in the Spanish league.
Rodriguez put Barcelona ahead in the 30th minute, gathering a long pass from Andres Iniesta and galloping from a deep position into the area before shooting past goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas.
Barcelona leads the standings with 52 points, eight more than second-place Real Madrid, which visits Deportivo La Coruna later Saturday where it has not won since 1991.
"It's very difficult against (Barcelona), it's like chasing shadows, but we did the best we could," Gijon coach Manuel Preciado said.
Barca was in control from the start at Gijon's El Molinon Stadium, dominating possession and looking a constant threat going forward.
Coach Pep Guardiola left Thierry Henry on the bench, playing Rodriguez up front alongside Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Messi conjured Barcelona's first serious chance in the 13th by drifting through the defense and finding Rodriguez, whose flick to Iniesta resulted in the midfielder shooting just high.
Seconds later, Ibrahimovic's shot hit a post and Rodriguez followed up to tap the ball in _ although he was ruled offside.
Ibrahimovic was at the heart of Barca's offense again when he gathered a through pass from Messi on the edge of the area before blasting high.
The hosts responded immediately, Mate Bilic heading a cross straight at goalkeeper Victor Valdes from close range.
Barcelona managed to impose its short passing game despite the wet conditions, although it was let down by further slack finishing. Rodriguez passed back to Messi in space, who shot wide from the edge of the area in the 68th. The roles were reversed minutes later as Rodriguez fired high after Messi had set him up.
The Argentina forward showed his frustration in the 82nd, getting booked for a late challenge on Diego Castro.
Earlier, Luis Garcia's goal gave Espanyol a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao at its Cornella-El Prat Stadium.
The hosts had trouble creating chances until Pablo Osvaldo nearly reached a dangerous through pass from Jose Callejon in the 27th minute.
Minutes later, Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta drew fine saves from his own goalkeeper after two deflections ricocheted off him in succession from Espanyol shots.
Espanyol took increasing control of the game and early in the second half Adonia Iraola had to make a last-ditch tackle on Joan Verdu when the striker was set up by Garcia after Osvaldo's backheel.
Garcia scored his second league goal of the season in the 60th when he followed up on the rebound after goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz failed to hold Javier Marquez's low shot.
With Bilbao struggling in attack, coach Joaquin Caparros replaced Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora with 17-year-old Iker Muniain on the hour although the youngster failed to break down the Espanyol defense.
Espanyol is 14th in the standings and Bilbao eighth.
On Sunday it's: Sevilla vs. Valencia; Tenerife vs. Zaragoza; Xerez vs. Mallorca; Villarreal vs. Osasuna; Valladolid vs. Almeria; Getafe vs. Racing Santander; and Atletico Madrid vs. Malaga.


Updated : 2021-08-02 05:22 GMT+08:00