Barcelona can get climb back into La Liga’s top four with a draw or victory on Sunday as they visit crosstown rival Espanyol. Barca entered the weekend in fourth but were jumped by Atletico Madrid, who won on Saturday.
A victory will put them two points clear of fourth. Meanwhile, Espanyol are in 13th place and seven points above the drop zone, needing likely just another couple more wins to secure their spot in the top flight.
Barcelona found a way to finish in the La Liga Top 4 for a second straight week thanks to a 2-2 draw against Espanyol in a hard-fought Catalan Derby at the RCDE Stadium.
Barça played very well in the first half and should have put the game out of sight, but allowed their local rivals to come back and take the lead and need a last-second goal from substitute Luuk De Jong to rescue a late point and stay in fourth place for another few days.
Barça started the game with a goal: just 80 seconds into the match, after a great bit of high pressing, the ball found Jordi Alba who played a perfect cross into the box to find the run of Pedri, who volleyed home the opener. The Blaugrana were the best team on the pitch in the first half and continued to dominate possession, and they should have made it 2-0.
Adama Traoré continued his impressive start in a Barça shirt with his speed and power on the right, and he was involved in everything good the team did. Espanyol offered almost nothing when they had the ball and tried their hardest to avoid the second goal, and they did thanks to a combination of poor finishing by Barça and great goalkeeping by Diego López.
As we reached the 40th minute only one team deserved to win, but the home side found a way back into the game when a long ball found Raúl De Tomás who passed it to Sergi Darder at the edge of the box and the midfielder’s shot deflected off the foot of Pedri and went into the bottom corner despite Marc-André ter Stegen’s best efforts.
At halftime Barça’s wastefulness in the final third cost them the lead, and it was all to play for in the second half.
Barça started the second half playing well and looking more dangerous up front, and they found a second goal when Gavi got to the ball before the Espanyol defense inside the box and found the back of the net to put Barça in front again.
But the goal was ruled out for an offside on Frenkie De Jong, and just a few minutes later Barça somehow found themselves behind when Eric García made a bad mistake trying to defend a long ball by Darder and De Tomás was all alone in front of goal to put the home team ahead.
Barça had 25 minutes to try and find an equalizer, and it was truly depressing to watch them show zero creativity and pass the ball sideways until they played a cross into the box.
As we reached injury time things went from bad to worse when Gerard Piqué was given a red card, but Xavi’s Barça never gives up and still found a way to rescue a point when a cross from Adama Traoré found the head of Luuk De Jong and the big Dutchman scored a vital equalizer in the 96th minute. The final whistle came, and Barça will remain in the Top 4 with a valuable point in the Derby.
Despite the point gained almost feeling like a win, this was still a huge letdown after last week’s win over Atlético and Barça quite simply wasted a victory that was very much in their hands in the first half. But they kept missing chances and paid for a really awful defensive mistake. It’s a frustrating result, but staying in the Top 4 is definitely good news.
It’s over! Barcelona rescues the tie in the last minute.
Goal, goal, goal for Barcelona! Traoré’s cross, Luuk de Jong rises inside the box and ties the match.
They are leaving! After a fierce confrontation, Melamed and Piqué leave the match with a red card.
The cross ends up in the hands of Diego López.
Change of Barcelona. Luuk de Jong replaces Pedri
Traoré’s cross, but Aubameyang fails to make contact with the ball.
Excellent intervention by Vidal, preventing Dembélé from entering the area.
Pedroza came close, but the blaugrana defense ended up preventing the third.
Barcelona changes. Gavi and Alba are replaced by Gabi and Dembélé.
Ferran’s shot, but Traoré misses.
Pedri’s half turn and shot at goal, but it ends up in the hands of López.
Goal, goal, goal for Espanyol! Tomás popped up inside the box just to put the home side ahead.
Espanyol change. Vilhena and Bare come off for Melamed and Morlanes.
Barcelona substitution. Aubameyang comes on for Frenkie de Jong.
It is cancelled! The referee disallows Barcelona’s goal due to offside of de Jong
Goal, goal, goal for Barcelona! After a series of attempts, Gavi gets past the defenders and ends up firing a tremendous shot to put the visitors in front.
Ferran Torres arrived with danger, but the Espanyol defense ended up preventing him from shooting at goal.
Both teams will be looking for the three points.
Change for Barcelona. Eric García replaces Ronald Araujo.
At the end of the first half, in a hard-fought match, the score is tied at one goal.
Goal, goal, goal for Espanyol! Darder takes a delayed ball that ends up in the back of Stegen’s net.
Goalkeeper! Traoré’s shot ends up hitting López.
Alba’s excellent shot, preventing Espanyol’s move from growing.
Adama Traoré’s shot, but the ball goes over the goal.
De Jong’s cross, but the home defense eventually clears the ball.
Intense duel in Barcelona, Espanyol is looking to tie the match.
Goal, goal, goal for Barcelona! After Alba’s cross, Pedri appears to push the ball in and open the scoring.
Actions begin at the Espanyol Stadium
M. ter Stegen; J. Alba, G. Piqué, R. Araujo, S. Dest; P. González, S. Busquets, F. de Jong; Gavi, F. Torres, A. Traoré.
D. López; A. Vidal, S. Gómez, Cabrera, A. Giner;T. Vilhena, K. Bare, Y. Herrera, S. Darder; R. de Tomás, J. Puado.
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