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Deportivo La Coruña
November 1, 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 79977
A. Sánchez 68'
Full time at Camp Nou! A solitary strike from Alexis Sanchez is enough to see Barcelona win the Catalan derby over Espanyol. Tata Martino's men were frustrated for the large majority of the match but the Chilean once again proves to be the match winner. The visitors put in a fantastic shift and will feel slightly hard done by, but a lack of attacking ambition has been their undoing as Barca get the three points. I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
Yellow Card Lanzarote
It looks like Barcelona are going to see this one out here. Espanyol have improved going forward but they've failed to test Valdes too much.
Forced change from Barcelona here as Mascherano limps off to be replaced by Marc Bartra.
Messi looks to take the game by the scruff of the neck in an attempt to find a goal for himself as he bursts through a couple of challenges on the edge of the box. He tries to do too much though and is eventually stopped by the challenge of Raul.
They make a second change almost immediately after and this time Iniesta is the man coming off. He'll be replaced by Cesc Fabregas, who grabbed a hat trick of assists in the 3-0 win over Celta midweek.
First change of the match from Barcelona as Alexis Sanchez is replaced by Pedro. The Spaniard will add some energy in the latter stages up top for the Catalans.
Not this time, but he was close! Messi steps up and whips a free kick around the wall but the set-piece goes the wrong side of the post. Casilla was struggling to get across, but it goes wide.
Free kick to Barcelona in a good position for a strike at goal as Messi is scythed down by Victor Sanchez 25 yards out. The Argentine looks as if he fancies this one. Will he grab his first goal in three games?
10 minutes remaining for Espanyol to get anything out of this here.
Sergio Garciaaaaaa!!! Excellent play! The former Barcelona youth play takes the ball down with a superb chested touch before rifling a strike towards goal, but the attempt just rises at the last moment and fizzes over the bar!
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Great goalkeeping again from Casilla! Alexis counterattacks through the middle and threads a ball in behind the defence for Neymar but the pass is intercepted by the Espanyol 'keeper, who ushers the ball out of the path of the Brazilian.
Espanyol have just enjoyed a tiny period of possession inside the Barcelona half but it doesn't really look like it's going anywhere as the haven't committed too many men forward.
Mascherano gets let off the hook slightly as he finds himself in a sticky situation running back towards goal but he gets the free kick as Sergio Garcia clips his heels. There wasn't any need at all for the Espanyol striker to make that challenge.
Just over 20 minutes remaining for Espanyol to get back into the match here. They've been pretty solid the entire match but they'll need to come out of their shells massively if they are going to get anything out of this derby.
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!! THEY MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH! Neymar receives the ball on the left-hand side and somehow crosses the ball between the legs of two defenders for Alexis at the back post, who slides home! 1-0!
Yellow Card Víctor Sánchez Mata
Victor Sanchez finally goes into the book as he hauls down Iniesta inside the centre circle. That's been coming for the Espanyol man.
Busquets goes on a rare foray into the box and receives a ball to feet from Xavi. He looks poised to turn and shoot but the linesman puts up his flag for an offside. That looked very, very, tight!
First change of the match and it looks to be a forced one from Espanyol. Thievy Bifoum has succumbed to injury and he'll be replaced by Jhon Cordoba.
What a goal that would have been from Neymar! A sensational attempt!
NEYMAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!! INCHES AWAY!! The former Santos man typically cuts inside from the left on to his right foot and then curls a fantastic shot towards the far corner. It looked goal bound all the way but just shaves the outside of the post!
A small break in play at the moment as Montoya and Thievy are both down after a collision. There didn't look to be too much in it but both players look like they need some attention.
Fair play to Espanyol though. It's not easy to come to Camp Nou as be totally disciplined for 90 minutes, but they've still got a large portion of the match to go. They've passed the test so far, but a long way until the final whistle.
Barca just playing with more spring in their step here. Looks like Tata Martino may have gave them a bit of a telling off at half time.
WHAT A SAVE FROM CASILLA! Dani Alves finally puts a superb cross into the box and it is met by Messi, who glances a strike towards the bottom corner, but the 'keeper somehow gets across goal to get a fingertip to it!
Espanyol counterattack at pace in a rare venture forward and Sergio Garcia threads the ball out to the left for Thievy, but the Frenchman's returned pass inside goes straight into the arms of Valdes.
Xavi lifts a lovely pass over the top of the Espanyol defence for Alexis but the Chilean just can't find that extra yard to latch on to the ball.
Neymar and Iniesta both receive the ball with their back to goal within a couple of moments but both are immediately hounded down and robbed of possession by a number of Espanyol players.
We are back under way in Camp Nou!
Barcelona had a massive 80% possession to Espanyol's 20% in that first half, but they have simply not made the most of it. The final ball, pass, and finish wasn't there.
Half time in Camp Nou. A goalless first half in the Catalan derby as Barcelona are frustrated by Espanyol in the opening 45 minutes. Victor Sanchez should have scored but saw his strike one-on-one with Victor Valdes saved by the Barca 'keeper, but Los Cules began to flex their muscles late in the half, with Dani Alves striking the post.
Yellow Card Fuentes
First booking of the match goes to Juan Fuentes as he takes out Alexis Sanchez down the right wing. Free kick to Barca in a useful position.
DANI ALVES HITS THE POST! SO UNLUCKY! He latches onto the ball 18 yards out and fired a bouncing half-volley at goal that cannons off the bottom of the left-hand post! Barca getting closer here!
INIESTAAAA!!! WHAT A GOAL THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN! The ball comes to the Barca man on the edge of the area and he fires a superb left-footed volley towards goal that is beat away by Casilla!
Xavi drives a wonderful pass out to the left wing for Iniesta who glides into the box before chipping a pass inside to Neymar. The Espanyol defence are wise to it though, and manage to clear up the park.
Torje has put in a real shift down that left-hand side for Espanyol so far. He has been back helping out Fuentes all game as the 23-year-old deals with the duo of Alexis and Dani Alves on the flank.
Best chance of the match so far goes to Espanyol!
Fantastic goalkeeping from Victor Valdes!! A mistake from Dani Alves allows Victor Sanchez to run through on goal to hit a stabbed finish towards goal, but the Espanyol man is foiled by the Barca 'keeper, who makes a superb save with his feet!
Disappointing from Messi. The Argentine, who hasn't scored for three games, steps up and floats the free kick over the wall but it keeps rising and goes harmlessly over the bar.
Still no cards produced from the referee, despite a poor foul from Victor Sanchez on Messi 25 yards from goal! Barcelona get the free kick, but there should have been a player going into the book also!
Hector Moreno gets away with one as he leaves his studs down the calf of Xavi just inside the Espanyol box. That's a booking every day of the week, so the Mexican should count himself a lucky man
Espanyol are struggling terribly to get out of their own half here. The three-man central midfield trio are all sitting deep which is making any potential link-up with the attack rather tough.
Much better this time from Alves! The 30-year-old latches on a pass over the top of the defence from Iniesta and heads the ball back into the danger area for Alexis, but the Chilean's awkward volley bounces off an Espanyol defender!
Dani Alves is really not having the best of games here! He gets into another great position down the right-hand side but once again his final ball goes out for a goal kick. The ambition is there, but the crossing isn't as of yet.
Busquets ventures forward into the Espanyol half and looks to thread a difficult pass in between the defenders for Alves. He succeeds, but the former Sevilla man is on his heels and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Really poor final ball from Dani Alves!! Some superb build-up play with Alexis and Iniesta is ruined by the Brazilian, who runs in behind but stands a cross out behind the goal.
Xavi picks up the ball from Pique at the back and sprays a superb pass out to the left-hand side for Neymar. The Brazilian cuts inside but finds himself outnumbered and reverts the play back to Montoya.
Lukewarm start to the match from the Catalans here. Casilla hasn't been troubled too much in the Espanyol bar that strike from Alexis.
Espanyol are weathering a bit of a storm at the moment! Neymar, Messi, and Montoya all have shots on goal from various positions inside the box but the visiting defenders blocked every attempt. Brave defending going on here!
Abraham clips in the set-piece, but Hector Moreno was offside and Barca get the free kick. Bit of a waste, really.
Free kick to Espanyol is a useful position inside the opposition half after Pique goes through the back of Sergio Garcia. Good opportunity for the visitors to get a decent ball into the box here.
Neymar was flagged offside in that attack anyway. Looked tight, though.
Excellent positioning from Casilla! Xavi threads a fantastic pass through the middle of the Espanyol defence for Neymar but the goalkeeper dashed off his line to make the important interception!
Neymar twists and turns on the edge of the box and looks to burst through the middle but he is undone by a couple of challenges. It looked like Hector Moreno who got the tackle in.
Great save from Casilla! Alexis breaks off to the inside-left channel and looks to curl a strike into the far corner but the Espanyol 'keeper manages to get across goal to palm the strike away comfortably.
Torjeeeee!! Unlucky! The Espanyol winger collects possession on the edge of the box and rifles a strike towards goal but it flies wide of the post and doesn't give Valdes any problems.
First glimpse of Neymar down that left-hand side. The Brazilian leaves Raul for dead with pace before hitting the byline and standing a cross to the back post. The ball eventually comes to Dani Alves who balloons a shot over the bar.
Javier Aguirre looks to have started the match tonight with three central midfielder in Abraham, Lopez, and Sanchez. All hard working players so they'll aim to get right in the faces of Barca.
Will Espanyol be able to keep Barcelona at bay for 90 minutes?
The 159th Catalan derby is under way!
The Catalan side are unbeaten in 25 games at Camp Nou in the league, and have won all five La Liga games on their own turf this campaign.
The Periquitos have come the wrong side of two 4-0 defeats in their last two visits to the Camp Nou, and the home of their rivals as not been a happy hunting ground over the years.
Espanyol enter the derby in poor form, with only an impressive victory over Atletico Madrid their only win in six games.
The Argentine boss has made a few amendments to his first XI from that win during the week. Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and Neymar are the highest profile inclusions, with Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, and Pedro making way.
Real Madrid succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in the Clasico and Los Cules also ran out comfortable 3-0 winners againct Celta Vigo on Tuesday evening.
Tata Martino's men enter the Barcelona derby tonight coming off the back of two impressive victories within the space of a week.
Espanyol (4-2-3-1): Casilla; Raul, Sidnei, H. Moreno, Fuentes; D. Lopez, Victor Sanchez; Thievy, Abraham, Torje; S. Garcia.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Montoya; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Neymar.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the proceedings!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Friday night Spanish Primera Division action between Barcelona and Espanyol from Camp Nou!
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