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Barca moved two points ahead of the champions and two points behind third-placed Real Betis after the victory, which was played in front of a sold-out Nou Camp.
Prior to the game, former Barca player Luis Suarez was given a positive reception after his contributions to the club during his glittering stint with the Blaugrana.
But it was a very different reaction to Dembele. The Frenchman returned to the Barca squad after being omitted from selection due to a contract stand-off.
He was an unused substitute for the fixture but after not playing since January 13, the former Borussia Dortmund star was met with a chorus of boos when his name was read out over the tannoy by the stadium announcer.
Dembele, who was signed for £97 million in 2017, had been available for a move in the January transfer window but could not agree a transfer away before the deadline.
The unsavoury reaction from Barca fans was to be expected given the situation, but manager Xavi Hernandez has urged the supporters to get behind the player.
"The fans were 10 of 10 and the support was brilliant throughout the game," Xavi said in his post-match press conference.
"But I would like them to support Ousmane, too. I'd ask them to stop booing him."
Xavi: “I would like to ask the fans to please stop whistling at Dembélé. He is one more in the group - they did it today, now please stop”. 🔴🇫🇷 #FCB— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 6, 2022
“We need to support our team, our players”. pic.twitter.com/AoAkgtgnGj
Dembele did not take to the pitch, which would have likely led to even more jeers from the stands.
But according to Xavi, he was set to enter the fray but plans changed because Dani Alves was sent off in the 69th minute after scoring and assisting.
"The idea was for him to come on, but I decided on other things because of the red card and the way the game went," Xavi added.
Dembele has played 11 times this season in all competitions, scoring one goal.
Though he's poised to leave on a free in the summer, Barca president Joan Laporta has confirmed Dembele won't be ostracised.
"If we have to pay Dembele until June 30 then it’s logical that Xavi says he wants to use him," Laporta told Movistar+.
"We hope that Ousmane behaves professionally and at the end of the season we can say it was a good decision."
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