Football, La Liga, News 2018-02-05 6:15 AM

Gerad Pique’s late header helped Barcelona keep their unbeaten run intact in the La Liga, the Spaniard who was being booed by the home fans responded with a ‘sush’ celebration which sparked controversy. However, captain Andres Iniesta defended his teammate by reckoning such incidents are meant to happen in a high intense derby.

 

Barcelona were on the verge of facing their first La Liga defeat of the season at the hands of Espanyol in the Catalan derby but a late goal from Gerad Pique helped them keep their unbeaten run intact in the ongoing season. Pique headed the equaliser as the game ended on a 1-1, he celebrated the header by putting finger on his lips in a controversial gesture towards the home fans who were continuously booing the defender. The celebrate drew the irk of Espanyol fans but was defended by Barca captain Andres Iniesta who said things like this happen in a derby game.

Barca were forced to share points by neighbours Espanyol in their La Liga clash on Sunday. The high on intensity game saw the players from both the teams tussle hard for the points but it remained even until the end. After Gerad Moreno opened the scoring for Espanyol with a 66th-minute strike, his side took top gear and dominated the proceedings and looked on the verge of creating an upset but Pique came to Barca’s rescue. Lionel Messi was rested by Ernesto Valverde for the clash but the Argentine was later called back in the second half after it was evident that Barca lacked the usual fluidity and flair in the attack.

Pique who has earlier been reported to the Spanish Football Federation by Espanyol for referring to the club as “Espanyol de Cornella” – a suburb of the Barcelona metropolitan area – rather than Espanyol de Barcelona was booed by the home fans. But he chose to bounce back and silence the crowd with a goal that would eventually decide the course of the game. Talking about his teammate’s celebration after the game, Iniesta said, “These things happen in derby matches, I don’t know the exact gesture that Pique made. I hope everything is very calm.”

“We had a point and we were still pushing up. We couldn’t get all three points. The conditions weren’t as bad for them as they were for us.

“I wouldn’t say it was difficult for us to adapt to the pitch. I think we played a great game. We put in a big effort and were able to rescue ourselves and avoid a 1-0 defeat,” he added.

The ‘sush’ goal celebration led to rough tussles between the players of the two sides after the end of the game but Pique showed brilliant gesture when he controlled a seemingly infuriated Samuel Umiti and came back to the pitch to shake hands with Espanyol players. However, Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores did not agree with Iniesta and reckoned that the fans will not forgive Pique in the future.

“Pique cannot silence the fans, especially not ones like ours,” Flores told reporters. “The fans are well above this kind of things. They will respond in the coming days. The season doesn’t end or start with Barcelona; we are optimistic and positive about the coming months. There are details in these matches which define the outcome and they don’t depend on us,” he added.

 

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