Cadiz stun Barca to leave Real Madrid 15 points clear in La Liga
Madrid, April 19 (IANS) FC Barcelona lost 1-0 at home to Cadiz to leave Real Madrid 15 points clear at the top of La Liga with six games left to play.
Barca were poor in the first half against a rival struggling against relegation on Monday night, and in the second half when they finally woke up, they were denied by a series of excellent saves by Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma.
The game kicked off with protests against Barca president Joan Laporta following the presence of around 30,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans in the stands during the club's UEFA Europa League exit to the German club on Thursday.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez was still without the injured Gerard Pique, while Pedri is likely to miss the rest of the season with injury and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on the bench, with Memphis Depay making a rare start, Xinhua reports.
The first half offered little, with Cadiz looking very solid in defence and Barca lacking their usual threat with the exception of Ousmane Dembele, who was constantly probing with his pace and control.
Despite Dembele's efforts, the best chance of the first half fell to Cadiz forward Lucas Perez, who sliced his effort high and wide when he should have at least worked Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Cadiz took the lead in the 48th minute after Perez beat Ter Stegen, who had done magnificently to deny Ruben Sobrino, who had got the better of Clement Lenglet after a cross from the left.
Xavi brought Aubameyang on for Memphis, but Dembele continued to be their main threat, with Cadiz keeper Ledesma parrying one effort from the winger, while at the other end Alex Fernandez fired wide after an assist from Ivan Alejo.
Big striker Luuk de Jong came on for Barca and was unlucky to see his header from a corner go straight at Ledesma in the 78th minute, before Ter Stegen produced a reflex save to deny Sobrino.
Ledesma saved Eric Garcia's long-range effort with six minutes left of normal time as Barca finally stepped up their game, and the keeper did even better to deny Aubameyang's volley from Jordi Alba's cross, moments after Carlos Akapo's cross hit the outside of the post at the other end.