FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. The 2 teams from the city of Barcelona laced up against each other today at Estadi Cornellà-El Prat (RCD Espanyol’s home stadium). Barcelona has dominated the derby matchup, winning 125 of the 214 matchups between the 2 teams in Major competitions (La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Super Copa de Espana, and Inter-cities fairs cup).
Coming into the game Barca was on their largest-ever unbeaten run against Espanyol with 23 derbies. The draw today extended that streak to 24 unbeaten games. The streak almost ended after Espanyol went up 2-1 on Barca after a goal from their striker, Raul de Tomas scored goal at the 64th minute. Barca did not manage to score a goal entering extra time. When all hope was lost and everyone believed that the loss for Barcelona was set in stone, Luuk de Jong scored at the 96th minute of the game. The game ended in a 2-2 draw allowing Barca to remain unbeaten against Espanyol.
“A positive point in the end. We had good moments in both halves. Espanyol created very little but they were more clinical. It was an intense game. Real Madrid has already lost here this season. We could have won if we took our chances,” said Xavi, reports ESPN.
The game started with an early goal from Barcelona midfielder Pedri (Pedro Lopez), putting Barca up 1-0 after just 2 minutes in the game. The assist came from Jordi Alba who crossed the ball into the far post, setting up an easy tap-in for Pedri. But the game was far from over and Espanyol drew the game with a beautiful curler from right outside the penalty area by their Central Midfielder, Sergi Garder just before halftime.
Coming into the second half Barcelona put in Eric Garcia for Ronald Araujo, who is reported to have been injured. Barca seemed to have taken the lead again in the 2nd half after a goal by Gavi (Pablo Gavira) but the goal was disallowed because Frenkie De Jong touched the ball when he was offside before Gavi scored. A few minutes after that, Garder pushed the ball forward with a beautiful pass to Raul de Tomas who scored off of the pass. Espanyol was leading 2-1 entering added time. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and Espanyol midfielder Nico Melamed were both sent off in extra time after butting heads.
When the game seemed to have been won by Espanyol, De Jong blasted in a beautiful header into the bottom right corner of the Goalpost in the 6th minute of overtime. The assist came from the wing, Adama Traore who whipped in a beautiful cross from the right side into the penalty box. The game ended after 7 minutes of added time. The club has failed to dominate as it used to after superstar Lionel Messi was forced to leave the team because of salary cap issues. The team is currently in 4th place with rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table. It is sad to see a juggernaut of a club reduced to such a state. Hopefully, the club can get back to its glory days anand their fans a reason to root for the club once again.