Luis Suarez, Barcelona Beat Girona in Match Featuring 2 Own Goals

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2017

GIRONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his teammates Aleix Vidal (R) and Lionel Messi (L) during the La Liga match between Girona and Barcelona at Municipal de Montilivi Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Girona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona reclaimed a four-point lead at the top of La Liga after defeating Girona 3-0 on Saturday, although manager Ernesto Valverde's side were far from at their best in the away trip.

Aday Benitez's own goal was all that separated the two sides at half-time, and Aleix Vidal helped settle the nerves by forcing another own goal before Luis Suarez scored in his 100th league appearance for Barca.

Barca's attention turns back to the UEFA Champions League next week, when the Blaugrana will travel to face Sporting CP in their group-stage encounter on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez started in attack, with Vidal on the right and summer signing Paulinho in midfield alongside Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta.

The first half showed signs of a new setup still meshing together, with Girona set up to absorb the pressure coming from their guests, and Barca were unable to find the breakthrough early on.

That was until left-back Jordi Alba unleashed a shot on the volley straight from a corner in the 17th minute, and captain Benitez was unable to do much else other than scuff his attempted clearance into his own net.

An ugly strike though it was to separate the two teams at the break, fan account the Barcelona Podcast took note of the attacking sway Spain international Alba gave the guests:

The remainder of the first period largely saw Barca knocking on the door with an increasingly dominant grip of possession, and Girona again took on the more submissive role after the restart.

And just three minutes into the second half, a smart backheel from Vidal on the right byline was turned in by home goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, per broadcaster Deji Kofi Faremi:

Girona manager Pablo Machin shuffled his formation to load his midfield and help give the home side more impetus in attack, but no rearrangement could keep Barca from netting a third.

Suarez latched on to a wonderful ball over the top from Sergi Roberto and converted past Iraizoz to settle the result with 20 minutes remaining:

Girona had failed to score in their previous three matches coming and deserved some credit for showing more verve in attack towards the end of the game, albeit rarely testing Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Six games into the new season, Valverde has silenced his critics by winning maximum points, although Barcelona might expect a more ruthless streak when they come up against less forgiving opposition.