Gerard Pique bid farewell to football on Saturday evening as FC Barcelona defeated 2-0 Almeria at the Camp Nou.
Result: FC Barcelona 2-0 Almeria
Date: 05 November 2022
Venue: Camp Nou
Barca made three changes from the side that edged Valencia, as Pique was recalled for his final game at the club after he announced his retirement, alongside Marcos Alonso and Ferran Torres.
The hosts had a good start after they were awarded a penalty within six minutes from a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review for a handball in the box by Kaiky.
However, Robert Lewandowski stuttered before taking his spot-kick and with goalkeeper Fernando Martinez not moving, he guided a low strike off the outside of the post.
Xavi's charges were fired up to make amends but they were constantly thwarted by Martinez, who denied both Pedri and Sergio Busquets.
With the pressure still on, Blaugrana came very close to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour hour mark after Torres beat Martinez with a strike across goal from a short corner but Kaiky cleared his effort off the line.
The same theme continued as the first stanza wore on and Barca could still not beat Martinez, who made vital saves to keep Almeria in the game after golden opportunities fell to the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong.
Barca had a perfect start in the second stanza as Dembele eventually broke the deadlock three minutes in after he cut inside from a long pass by Busquets and got past a couple of challenges before firing a low shot past Martinez.
Blaugrana remained a threat on counter-attacks and Xavi made his first change on the hour-mark, as Anssumane Fati replaced Torres for fresh legs in attack.
Fati had an immediate impact for Barca, as the hosts went 2-0 up after he forced a save out of Martinez that allowed De Jong to score from the rebound with a lovely volley.
Xavi kept Almeria on their toes as he had the luxury of calling upon the fresh legs of Raphinha in the last 22 minutes, who replaced Dembele in attack.
Almeria tried to throw caution to the win with rare attacks but they could not combine, as Barca looked more threatening to kill off the game.
With the game already secure in the last five minutes, Pique was withdrawn as he got a standing ovation in his last game and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.
The Catalan giants eventually sealed a comfortable win and leapfrogged Real Madrid, who have a game in hand, by two points at the top of the standings.
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