Barcelona’s Lionel Messi scored twice and Sergio Busquets once in a 3-0 win over Las Palmas on Sunday in a Liga match played with the stadium doors closed, following clashes between police and voters in Catalunya over a banned independence referendum.
At least 91 people were injured as Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations over the independence vote deemed illegal by the Spanish government on Sunday. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club made the decision to play behind closed doors at the 99,000-capacity Camp Nou as a protest against the violent clashes rather than security concerns.
Barcelona released a statement condemning the incidents.
“FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many parts of Catalonia today in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free speech,” the statement read.
A section of Barcelona fans’ groups had threatened a peaceful pitch invasion to show their disgust at events at the polling stations if the game was not suspended.
In the other game, Real Madrid beat another Catalan club Espanyol 2-0 with a pair of goals by Isco in a match in which Madrid fans displayed cards with the Spanish flag colors.
The cards were raised in the 12th minute in a reference to the supporters being the club’s 12th player.
Some of the few Espanyol fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium held up the colors of the Catalan flag, although coach Quique Sanchez Flores did not want to get involved.