Espanyol forgives Barça | sports

A penalty sentenced a derby that Barça did not know how to win while Espanyol lost the fear of losing in a tremulous Camp Nou. The Blue and Whites arrived too late to the game and spared the Barça when they decided to attack Ter Stegen. Raúl de Tomás’s aim failed when the blue and white fans already glimpsed the figure of the last executioners of the Camp Nou: Tamudo and lo Pelat. The battering ram did not hit, neither did Dimata nor Wu Lei, and Barcelona claimed victory in Xavi’s debut.



Ter Stegen, Alba, Eric Garcia, Óscar Mingueza (Ronald Araújo, min. 87), Piqué, Frenkie De Jong, Busquets (Ricard Puig, min. 77), Nico González (Yusuf Demir, min. 87), Ilias Akhomach, Depay and Pablo Páez Gavira (Coutinho, min. 69)


Diego López, Adrià Pedrosa, Aleix Vidal, Cabrera, Sergi Gómez, Yangel Herrera (Dimata, min. 77), David López (Manu Morlanes, min. 55), Darder (Loren Morón, min. 94), Embarba (Wu Lei, min. 77), Javi Puado (Melamed, min. 55) and De Tomás

Goals 1-0 min. 47: Savings.

Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande

Yellow cards Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (min. 58), Adrià Pedrosa (min. 58), Óscar Mingueza (min. 63), Frenkie De Jong (min. 82), Ter Stegen (min. 87) y Cabrera (min. 92)

He has changed his coach and he does not stop presenting young footballers, great midfielders and exquisite wingers and, nevertheless, he does not find a striker who finds the opposite goal, Espanyol beaten down by a maximum penalty from Cabrera. The Barça fans have no choice but to applaud the intention before the execution, more interesting during the week than on match day, too aware of the rivals even at the Camp Nou.

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Xavi’s line-up was consistent with the message he has repeated since his arrival from Qatar. He has not stopped talking about the extremes and opted for Ilias Akhomach, a 17-year-old Catalan of Moroccan parents, a double scorer in the last game he played with the subsidiary on the same day that the coach went to the Johan Cruyff stadium as soon as he set foot in Barcelona. Although his room for maneuver was limited by the injuries of capital players such as Ansu and Dembélé, Xavi wanted his debut to be associated with that of Ilias, and later with the entry of the daring Abde, in the same way that Cruyff appeared in 1988 as coach in a derby marked by Luis Milla. No one doubts since then that the best Barcelona football has been articulated from the figure of the midfielder and the wingers, as well as the steering wheels of the Masia.

There are no footballers more committed to facing a derby than those trained in the quarry and Xavi chose up to eight who have been fighting for a long time in the lower categories with Espanyol. Most have also memorized a style book that requires playing on someone else’s court from possession and widening the field to reach the opposite frame on the outside and inside if they accompany versatile and powerful interiors like Nico. Intense and dynamic, Barça football lacked, however, depth and punch to surprise and finish off Espanyol. The Blue and Whites stood on their court and were articulated from David López, defender or midfielder depending on whether or not the team had the ball, hinge of Moreno’s squad. The strange position of the captain did not help Darder’s deployment and Espanyol fell far short of Ter Stegen.

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Already familiar with the ball and recovered his ideas, Barça misses the foreign players who made the difference with or without Messi. There are no strikers and the media are exhibited individually without helping the team with goals: they do not score or help avoid them with or without Xavi. The Barça interiors pressed, the speed of the ball was also remarkable and, however, if there was a player who was related to the goal, it was Raúl de Tomás. The ram is always offered, arrives and shoots, undetectable for most defenders, also for Mingueza. The blue and white international searched as soon as he could for the right side of Barcelona in an attempt to put an end to Espanyol’s self-conscious football.

Xavi, however, insisted on the idea and changed the extreme: Abde replaced Ilias. And then the game was thrown off balance with a precious gesture from the brave Gavi. The Andalusian, who did not stop hitting on the wings, enabled Memphis and Cabrera screwed up in an action that the referee sanctioned as a penalty before the wrath of Espanyol. Memphis did not forgive while the fans entertained themselves with the virguerias of Abde.

Moreno had no choice but to change his plan and players to subdue Barça. They do not know how to defend the Catalans without the ball, repetitive in the error, exposed by their defensive fragility, only sustained by the outburst of Abde. The opportunities happened in the Barcelona area. Espanyol, however, has been denied at the Camp Nou since 2009. Accustomed to surprising from hardship, they did not know how to win in abundance, more powerful in attack than flat Barça

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It is time to survive longer at the Camp Nou. And it is that if it was finally known that Xavi debuted it was because of Ilias and the extremes, and therefore, because of the ideology recovered and still not effective from Barça.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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