Gerard Pique keeps Barcelona's unbeaten season alive at Espanyol

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The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/barcelona/" data-ylk="slk:Barcelona">Barcelona</a> Derby ended 1-1. (Getty)
The Barcelona Derby ended 1-1. (Getty)

The boos and whistles streamed down almost as hard as the rain. They poured onto a soaked pitch whenever Gerard Pique touched the ball. The insults. The abuse. They were relentless. But with less than 10 minutes remaining, it was Pique who got the last laugh in a wet but heated Barcelona Derby.

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The Spanish defender rose highest to meet a Lionel Messi free kick, and earned a 1-1 draw that kept Barcelona’s unbeaten La Liga season alive:


The league leaders had rested Messi, and struggled without their catalyst in a Catalonian downpour. Standing water accumulated on the pitch throughout the game, and slowed both players and the ball.

With Paco Alcacer alongside Suarez up top, and the pace of the game restrained by conditions, Barca lacked cutting edge. Philippe Coutinho hit the crossbar in the first half, but other than that, chances were few and far between.


Gerard Moreno then put the hosts ahead in the 66th minute. A pinpoint cross from La Masia product Sergio Garcia found Moreno’s head, and Espanyol had its local rivals fretting.


But Pique, who had antagonized Espanyol players and fans with comments after a recent Copa Del Rey tie, kept Barcelona without a La Liga loss, now through 21 matches. He stuck to his role as instigator, shushing the crowd.

Minutes later, he was on the receiving end of a nasty late tackle. The game’s final 10 minutes got ugly, with on-field spats carrying right through the final whistle.

But what matters is that Barcelona got its goal, and its point. It remains well atop La Liga, and without a full-fledged blemish on its record.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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