After a rain-soaked and fiery Catalan derby, ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner delves into the key talking points and Gerard Pique’s impact.

Espanyol striker Sergio Garcia has defended himself after being accused of making a racist comment to Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti during Sunday’s 1-1 draw.

Garcia set up the opening goal for Gerard Moreno before Gerard Pique equalised late on.

Pique’s goal and celebration in front of the home supporters at Cornella-El Prat was the catalyst for a bad-tempered finale.

Arguments continued in the tunnel after the match and the referee’s report said there had been a confrontation between players but he had not seen any physical aggression.

Diario Sport reported that the flashpoint had been the result of a racist comment made on the pitch by Garcia to Umtiti, with whom he had clashed with during the second half.

Garcia used Instagram to defend himself against the claim on Monday, writing: “First of all, I would like to clarify that I spoke with Samuel yesterday.

“In no way was it my intention to be racist. You all know that my wife is of gipsy ethnicity and that I grew up in a neighbourhood with roots from around the world.

“My brother-in-law, who I have a strong friendship with, is also African-American. In the heat of the game, you say many things which should stay on the pitch.”

In January, Levante midfielder Jefferson Lerma accused Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas of using a racist insult during a La Liga match.

Aspas denied the accusation and, like Garcia, said that “what is said on the field stays on the field.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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