Saturday 19 January 2019

WATCH - Barcelona's Gerard Deulofeu somehow thought there was nothing wrong with his goal last night

Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu scores their first goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu scores their first goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea Newsdesk Newsdesk

Gerard Deulofeu felt he was well within his rights to put the ball in the net as his controversial early goal set Barcelona on their way to a 2-0 win over bottom club Malaga at the Nou Camp.

Barca benefited from a touch of good fortune with their opening goal inside two minutes.

Lucas Digne weaved into the left side of the Malaga penalty area, but his touch from a rebound off a defender took the ball over the byline and out of play before he crossed into the six-yard box where Deulofeu flicked the ball in for his first Barcelona goal.

Despite the angry protest of the Malaga players, referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes was not moved and ran back towards the centre-circle.

Deulofeu, 23, who returned to his boyhood club in the summer on a permanent deal from Everton, said to BeIN Sports: "I didn't see a problem. I still have not seen a replay of the incident, but for me it was legal.

"I believe this, hence why I played on."

Malaga defender Luis Hernandez, however, was sure of the injustice.

"I can understand that they say it didn't go out, but it's absurd, the ball was half a metre out over the line. Once again, a decision is made that we suffer from," Hernandez said, quoted by Spanish media outlet AS.

"I always say that the referee's job is a difficult one, but we conceded a goal against Eibar that was offside and another one against Valencia last Sunday.

"We are not going to blame the referees for our place in the league, but it's hurting us a lot."

Second-placed Valencia had closed the gap on Barcelona by thumping Sevilla 4-0 at the Mestalla, but Barca never looked likely to slip up in Saturday's evening kick-off and Andres Iniesta doubled their advantage in the 56th minute as Malaga's winless run stretched to nine matches.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was relieved to take the points and he told the club's official website, "We got the three points in a game that was tough for us.

"They pressured us a lot and it was hard to attack. Malaga have shown that there is no reason why they are so low in the table. They have strong players on the counter-attacks."

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