Barcelona had a historic opportunity today: the possibility of sending the Second Division after 26 years in First Division to what has been the eternal rival of the city since always: Espanyol. In the absence of stronger emotions and with the League very complicated, this was the main incentive today.
The azulgranas did not fail and they also won to put a bit of pressure on Real Madrid, who in the absence of playing their game is 1 point away. The truth is that the victory was pyrrhic, by the minimum with a single goal from Suárez and leaving the sensations of a very tired Barcelona. The Villarreal thing seemed like a mirage.
At the outset, Quique Setién did not want to touch many keys regarding his last game against Villarreal. Only Rakitic by Arturo Vidal. Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig stayed on the bench. In this way, the alignment was as follows:
A very fatigued Barcelona generated no danger
Barcelona came out with full control of the ball, but as so many times have happened this season, the domain did not materialize on goal occasions. Eternal possessions with no effectiveness and Espanyol very well folded back, going against and even generating danger.
In the 10th minute, a saving foot from Ter Stegen to Embarba’s shot was the first warning of the parakeets. Messi answered looking for an Olympic goal from the corner that Diego López clenched his fists. Espanyol returned to generate danger with a shot by Marc Roca who was on goal, but in which Piqué was very attentive to reject it.
At 25, the best chance of the first half for Barcelona. A previously inactive Suarez received a great pass from Griezmann, but he was slow and unsuccessful in his definition. Again, before the break, Espanyol responded with a shot by Dídac Vilà who played the stick.
Expulsions mark the match in the second half
Setién considered that he had to move the bench during the break and introduced Ansu Fati at the beginning of the second half. Semedo and Sergi Roberto withdrew to the side. Barcelona, before the defensive tangle of Espanyol, chose to play with four forwards: Fati, Griezmann, Messi and Suárez.
But Fati lasted very little on the green. In 5 minutes he was expelled due to the excessive hardness with which he entered Calero with his leg raised. It is true that he first touches the ball, but then he touches the player’s leg and it could have done him a lot of damage. Espanyol’s 11 players did not last long, because 2 minutes after Fati’s expulsion, Pol Lozano made an even tougher inning for Gerard Piqué. In this case, having the leg on the ground, the defender could have been seriously injured. Fortunately, he was able to continue to have problems. Here are the two expulsions:
… Until Suarez decided
With the two teams with 10, Setien’s found more spaces. In 56, a great heel of Griezmann enabled Messi, who shot on goal, but his shot was repelled by a defense. But the old man was always out there sniffing the goal: the Uruguayan hunter Luis Suárez, who defined perfectly before the departure of Diego López.
Perhaps he relaxed too much, although Messi hooked a volley minutes after he was able to sentence the game. However, the azulgranas ended up suffering with two clear occasions against, in a Ter Stegen he appeared again as almost always.
A Barcelona derby that will not go down in history for its good game, but for being the match that mathematically descended to Espanyol after 26 years in First Division. As for the “culés”, tomorrow will have to be aware of Real Madrid. If there is white victory, the League will be practically yours.