September 23, 2017 / 9:07 PM / a year ago

Two own goals help Barca to secure Catalan derby win

MADRID (Reuters) - An own goal either side of the break and a second-half Luis Suarez strike ensured Barcelona maintained their 100percent start to the La Liga season with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to Catalan rivals Girona on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Santander La Liga - Girona vs FC Barcelona - Estadi Montilivi, Girona, Spain - September 23, 2017 Barcelona’s Aleix Vidal, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi celebrate their second goal scored by Girona's Gorka Iraizoz REUTERS/Albert Gea

With political tension rising in the region following a self-declared referendum on independence from Spain, the first-ever league meeting between the two sides started amid cries of support for the cause, and some fans carried Catalan separatist flags.

Slideshow (11 Images)

Barca went ahead after 17 minutes as Girona captain Aday Benitez turned Jordi Alba’s wayward shot into his own goal.

Girona goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz inadvertently turned Aleix Vidal’s backheeled cross into his own goal shortly after the restart before Suarez clinically wrapped up the points 21 minutes from the end.

With six wins from six games, Barca have a four-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who defeated Sevilla 2-0 in the day’s early kickoff.

Champions Real Madrid moved up to fourth with a 2-1 win away to bottom-of-the-table Alaves but still trail Barca by seven points.

Editing by Clare Fallon

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