Leader Barcelona put aside a turbulent week over payments to the company of a former vice president of the refereeing committee by beating Cadiz 2-0 on Sunday to extend its winning streak and lead over Real Madrid in the Spanish league.
Sergi Roberto and Robert Lewandowski scored the goals near the end of the first half for Barcelona’s sixth straight win and eight points ahead of Madrid.
Madrid had woken up to five points on Sunday after beating Osasuna 2-0 at home on Saturday.
The azulgranas took to the field after a week in which it emerged that the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the club for the payment of millions of dollars over several years to a company that belonged to the then vice-president of the referees’ committee. Barcelona has received strong criticism, but denies having committed a crime. They maintain that they paid for reports on arbitration proceedings, but not to influence their decisions in the matches.
Sergi Roberto opened the account of a complicated game by finishing off a rebound from the Cádiz defense in front of the frame at 43 minutes.
Lewandowski increased the advantage by sending a low shot into the net from the balcony of the area in the discount minutes before the break. The Polish striker established himself as the tournament’s scorer with 15 goals — his first after going three straight games without scoring in all competitions.
It was the 17th game of the campaign in which Barcelona kept their goal unbeaten. Two goals from the Cádiz team were not validated due to an offside and a foul.
“It is a reflection of how we have been working. The team has consolidated”, pointed out the Barcelona winger Ferran Torres.
The victory adds a sweet flavor to the end of a turbulent week for Barça, which on Thursday drew 2-2 at the Camp Nou with Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 series. They will visit Old Trafford next Thursday for the second leg of the tie.
Marc-André ter Stegen suffered to keep his goal at zero. Chris Ramos smashed a shot off the post after a deflection from the German goalkeeper and Honduran attacker Anthony Lozano also headed home.
Cádiz marches in 17th position with 22 units.
Griezmann defines for Atlético
Antoine Griezmann ended a three-match goalless fast to give Atlético Madrid a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
The French striker drove the ball from three quarters of the field and finished with a shot crossed down when he reached the area, breaking the goal after 73 minutes.
The victory keeps the colchoneros on fire in the fight for the third position in the championship held by Real Sociedad, which on Saturday tied 1-1 with Celta de Vigo. The rojiblancos are in fourth place with 41 points, two fewer than the San Sebastian team.
The Basque team stagnated in seventh position with 32 units.
Griezmann was once again the executioner of the Lions by scoring his 11th goal against Athletic in 27 games, the rival who has scored the most goals along with Valencia.