Barca's Pique defends goal-celebration against Espanyol

Updated: Feb 05, 2018, 19:29 IST | PA Sport | Madrid

Gerard Pique was unapologetic after celebrating his equaliser in Barcelona's 1-1 draw against city rivals Espanyol by hushing the opposition's fans last night

Gerard Pique (second from left) after scoring against Espanyol last night. Pic/ Getty Images
Gerard Pique (second from left) after scoring against Espanyol last night. Pic/ Getty Images

Gerard Pique was unapologetic after celebrating his equaliser in Barcelona's 1-1 draw against city rivals Espanyol by hushing the opposition's fans last night.

Pique's gesture came after Espanyol reported the defender to the Royal Spanish Football Federation for referring to them as "Espanyol from Cornella" following the teams' Copa del Rey tie last month. Cornella is a suburb of Barcelona, where the Cornella-El Prat stadium has been Espanyol's home since 2009, with Pique's implication being the club do not deserve to be considered Barca's rivals.

Lionel Messi came off the bench to cross for Pique's 83rd-minute header, which cancelled out Gerard Moreno's opener and keeps intact Barca's unbeaten record in La Liga this season.

There were heated scenes after the full-time whistle too as Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti clashed with Espanyol's Sergio Garcia.

"Celebrating the goal was special after everything that's happened in the last week," Pique told reporters.

"Some of the fans here have been directing insults at me and my family for a long time. I was telling them, in general, to be quiet, but maybe I shouldn't have. I know a lot of good Espanyol fans. Maybe it should have been directed at the club or its owners for not reporting certain things.

"They are from Cornella, like I said the other day. I know it hurt them and I used sarcasm to annoy them but saying they play in Cornella is not disrespectful, it's a fact.

"They complain about that and report me, but they don't investigate insults towards my family. That is disrespectful." Barca lost the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final 1-0 as Espanyol ended their unbeaten run of 29 games in all competitions.

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