MADRID: Barcelona opened up a four-point gap at the top of La Liga, maintaining their 100 percent start as they cruised to a 3-0 victory at Catalan rivals Girona on Saturday.
An own goal either side of the break and a Luis Suarez strike in his 100th league appearance for the club 21 minutes from the end were enough for Ernesto Valverde’s team to secure the points in the first-ever league meeting between the sides.
Having seen Atletico defeat Sevilla 2-0 to move into second place and a Dani Ceballos double help an unconvincing Real to sneak past bottom-of-the-table Alaves 2-1 earlier on, Barca made light work of their opponents, even if two of their goals were fortunate.
“There was pressure on us given the results in the other games and the atmosphere here today,” Valverde said. “It’s a derby, a great atmosphere and we needed to play with our heads as well as our hearts.
“We needed to combat Girona’s enthusiasm and we got the job done. Of course, I’m delighted with how things are going -– I’m not going to complain when we win. I’ll do that when things aren’t going well.”
Real returned to winning ways following their shock 1-0 defeat to Betis in midweek as two first-half goals from Ceballos in his maiden league start for the club sandwiched a Manu Garcia header for hosts Alaves.
There were missed chances at both ends in the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is yet to score in La Liga this season, and Alaves substitute Alfonso Pedraza both struck the woodwork twice, while Sergio Ramos fired over an open goal late on.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s side hung on to claim a thirdleague win of the season and move on to 11 points.
Second-half strikes from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann helped Atletico to leapfrog Sevilla into second place. They remain unbeaten with four wins and two draws after six games.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)