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Gerard Pique keeps Barca unbeaten, Atletico cut gap

The Catalan derby was played in pouring rain and Valverde slammed the “dangerous” pitch.

AFP |

Gerard Pique salvaged a 1-1 draw for La Liga leaders Barcelona at city rivals Espanyol on Sunday, keeping their bid for an unbeaten campaign on track, while Atletico Madrid edged out Valencia to cut the gap at the top to nine points.

Ernesto Valverde’s men were in danger of falling to their first league defeat of the season when Gerard Moreno nodded the hosts ahead midway through the second half, but centre- back Pique met a Lionel Messi corner in the 82nd minute to snatch a point.

Barcelona are now nine points clear at the top of the table from Atletico Madrid, who beat third-placed Valencia 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The Catalan derby was played in pouring rain and Valverde slammed the “dangerous” pitch.

“Even though it was raining, we thought that the pitch would hold, but then we saw that the grass was not going to hold up and that the pitch was becoming dangerous,” the Barcelona coach said.

“On our passes from defence the ball could get stuck in a puddle and that’s why things got difficult. We give a lot of value to this draw, because it was hard to get because of this scenario and because it’s a derby and we didn’t want to lose.”