Espanyol puts a spanner in Barca’s works

Espanyol certainly threw a spanner in the works last night at Cornellà for the Catalan derby when they held Pep Guardiola’s men to a 1-1 draw. It has put a small dent in Barcelona’s hopes of retaining their La Liga title but i’m sure Pep will shrug this off and it will be business as usual. Here’s what Eurosport had to say about last night’s game:

espanyol-barcelona-catalan-derby

Alvaro Vazquez’s late goal in the Catalan derby earned Espanyol a 1-1 draw and dented Barcelona’s La Liga title hopes at the Estadio Cornella-El Prat.The substitute headed in a flick from Thievy Bifouma in the 86th minute to cancel out Cesc Fabregas’s early effort.Real Madrid now have a five-point lead over Barcelona who allowed complacency to set in a keenly contested second-half.

Espanyol went into the match without striker Walter Pandiani, who failed to overcome a thigh problem while Javi Lopez only made the bench after a recent leg injury. Former Barca youngster Sergio Garcia lead the line with Joan Verdu just behind him in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta returned from a muscular injury and took his place alongside Sergio Busquets and Xavi in midfield. Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez formed the front three, with David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay long-term injury victims.

Barcelona could have found themselves behind after just five minutes. Their former player Sergio Garcia got in behind their defence on the left and crossed for Joan Verdu. The vice-captain’s header was spectacularly kept out by Victor Valdes and his follow up cleared off the line by Gerard Pique.

Lionel Messi was then booked for handball after he controlled a horrendous pass from Espanyol goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez and set up Fabregas to score. The goal was rightly ruled out, with Messi clearly controlling with his arm.
But it did not take long for the visitors to go ahead as Dani Alves curled in a cross for Fabregas whose firm downward header beat Alvarez.

The Argentinian will reflect that he should have done better as he allowed the header to go through his hands.
Espanyol were still posing a threat at the other end and Valdes had to be on his mettle to save a shot from Garcia, before Eric Abidal blocked a goal-bound Thievy Bifouma effort.Full story here.

After this thrilling Catalan derby, what will be going through Barca supporters’ minds now is “what’s happening”? Barca can’t afford too many mistakes this season especially with a Real Madrid team that is hungrier than ever. Of course, time will tell if Mo’s men have the stamina and pace to last the season and with Barca 5 points adrift it looks like the La Liga title is starting to slip away from Barca’s grip.

About Barca Blogger

My name's Steve aka Barca Blogger and one of the founding members of the team at Barcelonafcblog.com. I've been around since the blog started and we aim to bring you the most up to date information on this great club.

Comments

  1. Football Club Rankings says:

    Despite the tie Barcelona is ranked #1 in the world to start off 2012

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    Valora en Bitacoras.com: Espanyol certainly threw a spanner in the works last night at Cornellà for the Catalan derby when they held Pep Guardiola’s men to a 1-1 draw. It has put a small dent in Barcelona’s hopes of retaining their La Liga title……

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