Sergi Roberto boosts Barcelona’s title race

Xavi Barcelona

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Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto has scored the first brace of his Barcelona career after 357 games in the Blaugrana’s 3-2 win over Almeria on Wednesday evening at the Stadio Olimpico.

Xavi’s side went into the game nine points behind La Liga leader Girona, who won 3-0 against Alaves on Monday to go two points clear of second-placed Real Madrid. Barcelona’s victory reduced the gap to six points.

The Spanish manager also spoke about the need for his team to get back on track and recover their title race just 24 hours before the game, but the team must do a lot to recover after relinquishing the lead to Almeria in the 3-2 victory.
The home side took the lead through Raphinha (33 minutes), but Carrilho Baptistão equalized eight minutes later (41 minutes) as both sides went into the break level.

Sergi Roberto got his first of the game on the hour mark (60 minutes), but the visitors nicked one back eleven minutes later. Roberto’s header on the hour mark could have been the winner had stand-in goalkeeper Inaki Pena not made a mistake to allow Gonzalez to tap in.

Nevertheless, Roberto came to the rescue in the 83rd minute, placing his effort beyond visiting goalkeeper Luis Maximiano from the Poland forward, Robert Lewandowski’s fine pass.

Barcelona manager, Xavi was visibly disappointed with some “unacceptable” mistakes from his players but he still had time to praise match winner, Sergi Roberto.

“There was more suffering than I expected and than we deserved. We shot 30 times and gave away two goals. As a coach, the first half is unacceptable. The second part was better. We’ve failed a lot, and we’ve been in that vein for a month and a half or two. I’m satisfied that it’s Sergi Roberto because he’s an example, whether he plays or not. He almost scored a hat-trick, but beyond that is the work, how he encourages people. I’m happy for him.” Xavi said.

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