Below par Barcelona held to 0-0 draw by Girona in LaLiga

BARCELONA : Barcelona extended their lead at the top of LaLiga to 13 points despite being held to a goalless draw by mid-table Girona in their Catalan derby at the Camp Nou on Monday.

Barca came closest to scoring but Ronald Araujo’s shot in the first half did not completely cross the goalline before Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga clawed it clear in what was a largely uninspiring performance from the home side.

Barca moved to 72 points from 28 games, 13 ahead of second-placed Real Madrid with 10 rounds remaining, while Girona are eight points clear of the relegation zone in 11th place.

Barcelona coach Xavi was hoping for a reaction from his side following their 4-0 loss to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final last week, but they struggled to break down a resolute Girona defence that had only kept one other LaLiga clean sheet all season.

Gazzaniga also had to clear the ball off his goalline after team mate Santiago Bueno played a stray back pass that would have nestled in the bottom corner, while Barca winger Raphinha fired wide when well placed at the back post.

Home defender Eric Garcia headed over from a free kick when he should have scored, but the best chance of the second half fell to the visitors.

Striker Taty Castellanos was played through one-on-one with Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but curled his shot wide when a simple square pass to team mate Viktor Tsygankov would have resulted in a tap-in for the latter.

Barca travel to Getafe in their next fixture on Sunday, while Girona host Elche on the same day.

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