Sep 23, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Montilivi, Girona
Attendance: 13,305

Maffeo (23'), Benitez (41'), Kayode (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Benitez (17' og.), Iraizoz (48' og.), Suarez (69')

Live Commentary: Girona 0-3 Barcelona - as it happened

Live Commentary: Girona 0-3 Barcelona - as it happened
© Offside
Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Catalan rivals Girona and Barcelona, which ended in a 3-0 away win.

Barcelona stretched their 100% start to the 2017-18 La Liga season to six matches with a 3-0 victory over Girona in Catalonia on Saturday night.

The historic match saw Catalan rivals Girona and Barcelona meet for the first time in the league, and it proved to be a comfortable night for the visitors, who have moved four points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

6.46pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live La Liga coverage continues from Estadi Montilivi as newly-promoted Girona lock horns with Catalan rivals Barcelona for the first time. There is no question that this is Girona's biggest match in their history, and it will be very interesting to see how they deal with the occasion against an in-form Barcelona. Stay tuned for live updates from Catalonia!

6.49pmThis match will mark the first ever meeting between the Catalan rivals at first-team level, although Girona did beat Barcelona B 4-2 when they last clashed in May 2015. Espanyol against Barcelona has long been the Catalan rivalry at this level of football, but Girona are now in the big time following their promotion last term. It is a special, special night for this football club.

6.52pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news for this Catalan derby. Has Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde shuffled his pack following the 6-1 win over Getafe last time out? What about Girona – any familiar faces on display? Let's have a look...

Javier Mascherano and his imaginary friend in the La Liga match between Barcelona and Malaga on November 19, 2016© SilverHub


GIRONA: Iraizoz; Ramalho, Espinosa, Juanpe; Aday, Pons, Garcia, Maffeo; Luiz, Olunga, Portu

BARCA: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Mascherano, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitic, Iniesta; Vidal, Suarez, Messi

6.58pmThere are three on-loan Manchester City players in the Girona XI tonight, with Douglas Luiz, Aleix Garcia and Pablo Maffeo all included, but Marlos Moreno and Larry Kayode are both on the bench. Former Middlesbrough attacker Cristhian Stuani is also on the bench for the home team, with on-loan Guizhou Zhicheng attacker Michael Olunga leading the line. A three-man defence includes Bernardo Espinosa, who joined the club in a £4m move from Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window.

7.02pmAs for Barcelona, head coach Valverde has made six changes from the team that started against Getafe last time out. Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Aleix Vidal all come into the XI, with Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets among those dropping to the bench. Paulinho keeps his spot in the middle of midfield, while Javier Mascherano keeps his spot in the side.

Luis Suarez in action for Barcelona during their La Liga clash with Granada at the Camp Nou on October 29, 2016© SilverHub

7.05pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff on this warm evening in Catalonia. I shall speak about Girona a little bit later, but let's start with the league leaders Barcelona, who have been absolutely flying in the early weeks of the campaign.

7.08pmBarcelona stretched their 100% start to the new La Liga season to five matches with a thumping 6-1 win over Eibar at Camp Nou on Tuesday night. Questions were raised when Valverde's side lost 5-1 to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup last month, but the Catalan giants have been in wonderful form since then – winning all six of their competitive fixtures to lead the division.


7.15pmIndeed, Barcelona started the new league season with back-to-back 2-0 wins over Real Betis and Alaves, before putting five unanswered goals past Catalan rivals Espanyol after the international break. Then came a very, very impressive 3-0 victory over Italian champions Juventus in their Champions League group opener, before narrowly winning 2-1 at Getafe on September 16. As mentioned, Valverde's side will enter this weekend's match off the back of a 6-1 win over Eibar.

7.18pmLionel Messi struck four times against Eibar to move onto nine league goals for the season, while Paulinho and Denis Suarez added to their strikes against Getafe to ensure that Barcelona would stretch their advantage at the summit. The Catalan giants top the table on 15 points – four points clear of the champions and now fourth-place Real Madrid, who have played one game more.

7.22pmIn terms of what is ahead for Barcelona, they will continue their Champions League group campaign with a trip to Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon next Wednesday, before hosting Las Palmas in La Liga at the start of next month. Arguably, Barcelona's first serious test of the new league season does not arrive until October 14, when they face a trip to Atletico Madrid's new stadium. By that point, Valverde's side might well have seven league victories behind them.


7.28pmAs for Girona, the White and Reds ensured that they would play La Liga football for the first time in their history after finishing second in the Segunda Division last season. They actually lost 12 of their 42 league matches in the second tier, but 70 points proved enough to finish behind champions Levante.

7.32pmA third-tier outfit as recent as 2008, Girona consistently finished in the bottom half of the Segunda between 2008 and 2012, before pushing for a spot in La Liga over the last couple of years. After two fourth-place finishes and third in 2014-15, Girona posted second last season to earn a spot in Spain's top flight.

7.35pmPablo Machin's side opened their 2017-18 campaign with an impressive 2-2 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, before picking up their first ever La Liga three points at home to Malaga before the international break. Then came back-to-back defeats to Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, but Girona did pick up a point in a goalless draw at Leganes on Wednesday. As a result, a total of five points has left the club 15th.


7.42pmGirona actually spent more than £4m on Middlesbrough centre-back Bernardo Espinosa in the summer, while Stoke City's Marc Muniesa also joined the newly-promoted outfit on loan. This match will mark a historic match against Barcelona, and it would be some story if the newly-promoted outfit became the first team to take points off the league leaders this season.

7.44pmHere we go then! The handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside this small stadium. Game on!

0 minKICKOFF! Girona kick things off in Catalonia...

2 min... as expected, Barcelona have taken control of the possession in the early moments, with Messi already seeing plenty of the ball. It must be said that the pitch tonight is in wonderful condition.

3 minMascherano stays down following a challenge from Olunga, but the Argentine returns to his feet moments later. How long until we see the first card of the match? There are some challenges going in!

4 minSAVE! Smart goalkeeping from Iraizoz as the Girona stopper gets down to keep out a low strike from Vidal, who had beaten the offside trap. Early pressure from Barcelona here.

5 minLuis Suarez finds the back of the net with a powerful finish, but the offside flag is raised. Barcelona are all over Girona at the moment, with the home side yet to settle into this fixture.

7 minMessi runs off the back of Espinosa to chase a pass from Rakitic, but Iraizoz is out at the vital moment to claim. Girona just cannot keep the ball at the moment as Barcelona dominate.

9 minVery interesting to see Vidal given the nod to start alongside Luis Suarez and Messi in the final third tonight, with Deulofeu on the bench. Of course, Ousmane Dembele was signed to fill the Neymar-shaped hole, but the Frenchman is currently on the sidelines with a serious thigh problem.

10 minSuarez fires a low Iniesta cross well wide of the Girona post.

11 minGarcia has a decent strike deflected just wide of the Barcelona post as Girona threaten for the first time in this football match. The resulting corner, however, is cleared by Barcelona's Umtiti.

12 minSAVES! Couple of very smart saves from Ter Stegen as the Barcelona goalkeeper keeps out a strike from Luiz, before getting down to deny Olunga. Much better from Girona!

14 minBarcelona threaten once again as Vidal breaks into the Girona box, but the Spaniard decides to pass indeed of shoot, and Paulinho is offside. Moments before, Paulinho had a low cross blocked as the visitors threatened on the counter-attack. It is an open game with 14 minutes on the clock.

15 minCHANCE! Luis Suarez rounds Iraizoz inside the Girona box, but the striker goes too wide, and cannot find a teammate. More chances, but the score is still goalless here.

17 minSAVE! Iraizoz tips a long-range Messi free kick wide of the post.

17 minGOAL! Girona 0-1 Barcelona (Aday OG)

18 minBarcelona make the breakthrough in the 17th minute as Alba's long-range strike hits Aday and ends up in the back of the net! Terrible moment for the Girona defender here!

21 minIt was a touch unfortunate for Girona to fall behind in those circumstances, but Barcelona have created plenty of opportunities in the early stages of this match. The league leaders are in full flow.

23 minLuiz has been a threat for Girona tonight, with the Brazilian looking dangerous each time he has possession of the ball. The hosts have been loose in midfield, however, which is inviting Barcelona forward. You have to fear for Girona if they concede a quickfile second goal here.

23 minBOOKING! Maffeo (Girona) is booked for a pull on Messi.

25 minNot too much of an atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment, with the home side's supporters watching Barcelona dominate the ball. Vidal has been dangerous for the visitors down the right.

27 minMessi is flagged offside when replays show that the Argentine was level. Girona have been given the benefit of the doubt with a number of calls in this first period. Still 1-0 Barcelona in Catalonia.

29 minLuiz continues to carry the fight for Girona, and Paulinho has to bring the winger to the ground after he threatened to break onto the Barcelona defence. There might well be something in this game for the home side, but they simply must keep things tight down the other end of the field.

31 minRakitic finds Messi with a super pass, but the offside flag is raised once again. Messi and Luis Suarez have both been caught offside on a couple of occasions as Girona play a dangerous game.

33 minLittle over 10 minutes of the first period remaining, and Barcelona are in control as they pass and probe in the final third of the field. Girona, however, are working extremely hard to close the space.

34 minSAVE! Iraizoz keeps out Alba after the Barcelona defender had broken into the box!

36 minCLOSE! Rakitic's long-range strike is deflected just wide of the post.

38 minGirona are finding it difficult to get out at the moment as Barcelona continue to press high up the field. It would be fair to say that Girona need to score the game's next goal if they are to have any chance of picking up a positive result. For me, a second Barcelona goal kills this game as a contest.

38 minCHANCE! Paulinho heads wide of the post after meeting a Rakitic corner!

40 minIt is a very, very difficult game for Girona at the moment as Barcelona continue to force the issue. This is going to be a long six, seven minutes for the home side as we approach the half-time break.

41 minOlunga heads harmlessly over Barcelona's crossbar after beating Umtiti to a high ball.

41 minBOOKING! Aday (Girona) is booked for a foul on Roberto.

43 minNot an awful lot to report at the moment as Girona drop into a defensive shape.

45 minUmtiti takes one flush in the face after Portu had broken past Alba into the Barcelona box. Not an awful lot of noise coming from the stands tonight as the half-time interval draws closer here.

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Girona 0-1 Barcelona

8.31pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Barcelona leading Girona 1-0 courtesy of an own goal from Aday in the 18th minute. The home side have had some decent moments in the final third of the field, but Barcelona deserve to lead entering the interval here.

8.36pmSTATISTICS! As expected, Barcelona have dominated the possession with 67%, while the visitors have had seven attempts - four of which were on target. Girona, meanwhile, hit the target with one of their three first-half attempts. Two bookings to report - Maffeo (23 min) and Aday (41 min).

8.41pmBENCH WATCH! Barcelona have a wealth of talent on their bench tonight, with Sergio Busquets, Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer, Gerard Pique and Denis Suarez among those available. Girona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Olarenwaju Kayode, Marlos Moreno and Cristhian Stuani.

46 minRESTART! Barcelona resume the action in Catalonia...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

47 minMessi breaks into a one-on-one situation with Iraizoz, but the Girona goalkeeper does well to make the save. The home side really cannot afford to concede a second goal in this match.

48 minGOAL! Girona 0-2 Barcelona (Luis Suarez)

49 minWonderful goal! Barcelona have their second of the match as a super flick from Vidal finds Luis Suarez, and the striker produces a flick of his own to find the bottom corner! Great finish!

50 minThere is some confusion as to whether Suarez actually got a touch, with Vidal being credited as the scorer at the moment. We will wait for official confirmation on that one!

51 minCHANCE! Luiz heads just over the crossbar after meeting a cross from Pons!

CORRECTION!GOAL! Girona 0-2 Barcelona (Iraizoz OG)

52 minIraizoz has been credited with the own goal after Vidal's flick found the back of the net!

54 minGirona have plenty of attacking options on their bench tonight, and it would not be a surprise to see an alteration or two in the next few minutes. Something has to change for the home side here.

55 minSAVE! Super chance for Olunga as the Girona forward meets a deep corner, but the number 14 sees his header saved by Ter Stegen! It was straight at the German international.

58 minIt has been a decent response from the home side, who continue to deliver crosses into the Barcelona box. That said, you have to fear for the hosts on the counter, with Barcelona almost waiting to break. Still no movement on either bench as we head for the final 30 minutes of action.

60 minGIRONA SUB! Kayode replaces Olunga in Girona's first change.

62 minAday dances into the Barcelona box, but then loses control of the ball, allowing Barcelona to break. Messi collects a pass from Luis Suarez, but Juan is on hand to make a vital clearance.

64 minBarcelona are preparing to introduce Sergio Busquets to the action.

66 minThis match is just drifting at the moment, with Barcelona unsure whether to keep the ball or push for a third goal. In truth, it has not been a game full of exciting incidents and goal-mouth action.

67 minBARCELONA SUB! Busquets replaces Paulinho for the away side.

69 minGIRONA SUB! Mojica replaces Aday in Girona's second change.

69 minGOAL! Girona 0-3 Barcelona (Luis Suarez)

70 minBarcelona have their third of the match as Luis Suarez beats the offside trap before finding the near post with a super finish. That is game, set and match for the away side tonight.

73 minHalf-chance for the home side as Portu meets a header from Pons, but the Girona number nine fires wide of the post. Still more than 15 minutes of football remaining in this Catalan derby here.

75 minAnother offside for Luis Suarez, who has spent a lot of tonight's game the wrong side of the Girona defence! Denis Suarez is preparing to enter the field for Barcelona. Iniesta off perhaps?

77 minPossession football for Barcelona as we approach the final 10 minutes here.

78 minSuper defending from Mascherano as the Argentine comes across to block a strike from Luiz.

79 minGIRONA SUB! Maffeo is replaced by Moreno.

81 minBARCELONA SUBS! Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes replace Vidal and Iniesta.

82 minGIRONA SUB! Moreno (Girona) is booked for simulation.

84 minLittle over five minutes of football remaining tonight, and Barcelona are easing to another three points. Their 100% start to the 2017-18 La Liga season is going to be stretched to six matches.

86 minGirona have been threatening in the final third of the field, but they have lacked that final piece of quality to really make it count. I still fancy there to be one more goal in the latter stages here.

88 minPanic inside the Barcelona box as a series of low crosses are delivered, but eventually the offside flag is raised. At least it gave the Girona supporters something to cheer late on here.

89 minCHANCE! Pons breaks into the Barcelona box, but his effort is too high!

90+1 minTer Stegen collects a cross from Portu as Girona continue to threaten in the latter stages.

90+1 minBarcelona have a free kick as Messi is felled just outside the Girona box...

90+2 min... Messi's free kick is too high!

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Girona 0-3 Barcelona

9.35pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Barcelona running out 3-0 winners over Girona as the league leaders stretch their 100% start to the season to six matches. Another win for the Catalan giants. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again!

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Schalke's midfielder Leon Goretzka (L) and Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern Munich in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, on November 21, 2015
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