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FC Barcelona dropped their first points of the LaLiga season on Matchday 5, in the Catalan derby against Girona at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana played much of the game with ten men after a sending off for Clement Lenglet, but came back from behind for a 2-2 draw when Gerard Piqué headed in an equaliser.
The game got underway with Marc-André Ter Stegen called into action to save from a Bernardo header, but Barça soon established dominance of possession and chances. A mazy run from Messi, leaving defenders in his wake, culminated in Girona goalkeeper Bono making a stop at full stretch.
Messi on the mark
Never one to be dissuaded, the Argentine would only have to wait six more minutes to find the net: Arturo Vidal got into the box, producing a low cross towards the penalty spot. Messi arrived, right on cue, to send a shot inside the post to open the scoring (1-0, min.18)
The chances continued to come, with Luis Suárez and Ousmané Dembélé both having opportunities. At the other end, Gerard Piqué cleared the ball off the line on the half hour mark, when Portu had rounded Ter Stegen.
Lenglet sending off reduces Barça to 10 men
The turning point of a first half that featured severally fouls was a red card for Clement Lenglet, who was adjudged by referee Gil Manzano -using VAR- to have elbowed Pere Pons. The decision left a Barça side dominant on the ball at a numerical disadvantage.
Girona pull level before the break
Girona made the most of Lenglet's absence from the defence to equalise before halftime. Cristhian Stuani found his way through just before the break to beat Ter Stegen on the right of the six yard box (1-1, min.44)
Behind on the restart
Two Barça chances -for Arthur and Suárez- started the second half in style, but, it would be Girona who got the early goal. Portu broke through, scrambled past Piqué and had his shot saved, with Stuani getting his second goal of the night on the rebound (1-2, min.50)
Ernesto Valverde reacted by bringing on Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho for Arthur and Vidal, following on from the change that saw Samuel Umtiti replace Dembélé during halftime.
A Messi free kick on the hour mark nearly got Barça back on terms, but clattered against the crossbar. A minute later, another free kick was pushed out by the goalkeeper, as the hosts upped the pressure.
Pique finds the breakthrough
Piqué went up for the resulting corner, and stayed in the box as the play continued. When the ball ricocheted skywards, the centre back rose highest to head in from close range on 63 minutes (2-2).
From there, the attacks were constant from the Blaugrana, as their opponents defended deep. Despite their pressure, however, the game ended 2-2 at the Camp Nou.
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