Pique arrives on bike as 10-man Barca fail to hit top gear in derby despite Suarez winner


BARCA biker Gerard Pique produced an arrival as stunning as the six-minute spell in which VAR gave two identical red cards and Luis Suarez hit a winner to relegate Espanyol.

Ex-Manchester United defender Pique shocked observers by whizzing down an underpass and into the Nou Camp on a mountain bike – without wearing a mask or helmet.

Wearing a cap pointing backwards – rather like Barcelona’s declining LaLiga chances – he looked more like a teenage tourist than one of the world’s elite footballers.

And champions Barca were also not their usual selves – though they were jaded not joyful – as a tepid victory left them one point behind Real Madrid with three games left, compared to four remaining for the leaders.

Barcelona’s half-time sub Ansu Fati, 17, lasted just five minutes before being sent off for a studs-in challenge waist-high on Fernando Calero.

And Espanyol’s Pol Lozano promptly suffered the same fate after video replays again persuaded referee Jose Montero to upgrade an initial yellow-card verdict.

Lozano, though, was a touch unlucky as his lunge – on Pique – was lower down the leg and looked less reckless.

Suarez then pounced from perhaps the only occasion all night when he combined truly well with fellow frontman Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

The ex-Liverpool striker’s low right-foot winner was his 195th Barca goal, meaning only Cesar Rodriguez Alvarez (232) and Lionel Messi (630) have scored more for the Spanish giants.

Suarez, however, blamed Barcelona’s low-gear display on their exhilarating 4-1 destruction of Villarreal three days earlier.

He said: “We put in a great performance Sunday and are still feeling the effects.

“Espanyol were very well organised, but eventually the chance came and I was delighted to take it.

“I didn’t see the reds cards – players were blocking my views.

“But VAR was able to help the referee in these situations to make the right decisions.”

“And with Barca’s title chances seemingly forlorn, Suarez added: “All we have to do is win our next three games.. Whatever Madrid do is up to them.”


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