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May 26, 2013
• Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, Cornella de Llobregat
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 27578
A. Sánchez 14'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls. Make sure you join me for my last commentary for Goal next weekend for the final day of the Liga season. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: ESPANYOL 0-2 BARCELONA The Blaugrana moved to 97 points in La Liga with one game left to play, thanks to a straightforward win in this Catalan derby. A wonderful goal from Alexis Sanchez gave them the lead early on, before Pedro added a second late in the second half. Espanyol's plight was made no easier by Mubarak Wakaso's silly dismissal midway through the second half, as his loss of composure robbed them of their most dangerous outlet.
90' + 3'
AND THERE IS THE FINAL WHISTLE! Barcelona have won this game 2-0!
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
Alves tries to play a one-two with Xavi but Lopez reads the play and intercepts the ball. Espanyol have run out of ideas when they are in possession though, particularly after going a man down because of Mubarak's avoidable dismissal.
There will be three minutes of added time here...
Yellow CardJuan Daniel Forlín
Yellow CardCesc Fàbregas
Players from each time have lost their composure a bit (apart from Pedro clearly), as Fabregas clashes with Stuani and Colotto inside the Espanyol half.
PEDRO MAKES IT 2-0!1 The Barca attacker immediately leaves his mark on the game with a well-taken finish after linking well with fellow substitute Xavi. The Spaniard controlled the ball brilliantly inside the box before flicking the ball past Alvarez.
Barca make their third change at the same time, as Xavi comes on for Iniesta. In stark contrast to Alexis, Iniesta is given a standing ovation by both sets of fans. I imagine it would be quite hard to dislike the magical midfielder.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Alexis is withdrawn shortly after to be replaced by Tello. The Chilean has proved the difference here as his fine goal separates the teams. The Espanyol fans are less than complimentary as he leaves the field...
Lopez catches Alexis and Barcelona have another free kick – this time on the left-hand side.
Alves sends a dipping effort towards goal from the set piece, but is dealt with fairly comfortably by the goalkeeper Alvarez. He parries the strike and then catches the ball.
Barca have a free kick in a very dangerous position here...
MUBARAK IS OFF! The attacker is shown a yellow card, and then another seconds later for his reaction to the decision. The Ghana man is given his marching orders by the referee, and to be honest you could see that coming from very early on.
It has not been a good night for either teams' wingers. Espanyol have completed none of their seven attempted crosses, while Barca have completed just two from 20!
Mubarak finds Stuani with a pass to the right. He tries to return the favour as Mubarak moves into the box, but the ball is stolen by Pique and Barcelona are able to push forward in possession.
Barcelona look set to move to 97 points for the season with a win tonight. If they go on to secure all three points in their final Liga match next weekend they will match Real Madrid's record of 100 Liga points in a season, which they acheived last year.
Espanyol make a change of their own, and their player coming on will be a familiar face to the Barcelona fans. Simao comes on for Victor Sanchez, having spent two years at Camp Nou earlier in his career between 1999 and 2001.
That is Villa's last involvement of the night as he makes way for Pedro.
Víctor Sánchez Mata
Villa strays offside, just, but the linesman spots it and correctly raises his flag. The Barcelona attacker was seething about the decision but the official on the near side got that one right.
COLLECTOR'S ITEM: A very wayward pass from Iniesta.
Thiago finds Alves with a neat pass to the right, and the Brazilian then sends a cross to Villa at the back post. He controls the ball before firing a low shot with his left foot that is stopped well by Alvarez in the Espanyol goal.
Barcelona appear set to make their first change of the game, as Pedro prepares himself on the sideline.
Yellow CardAndrés Iniesta Luján
That's an atrocious cross from the Ghanaian youngster though. The ball runs all the way through to Sanchez, and he immediately races down the wing for Barcelona.
Espanyol win a corner on the left, that Mubarak ambles across to take.
STAT: Possession monopoly. Espanyol 28 per cent - 72 per cent Barcelona.
A long-range effort from Victor Sanchez is parried by Valdes, as Espanyol start taking the game to Barcelona. It has really opened up in the last 5-10 minutes.
AMBITIOUS FROM VILLA!! The Barcelona striker flings himself into the air to meet Alves' cross from the right, but his acrobatic volley is off-target and the score remains 1-0.
A heavy touch from Sanchez wastes a great opportunity for the Chilean to add his second of the game, as the ball runs through to Alvarez.
Mubarak bundles his way into the Barcelona penalty area before being dispossessed well by Pique. The Espanyol man went in with his studs raised to that challenge, and Pique was fortunate not to be hurt there.
STAT: Barca's last away defeat to Espanyol came in January 2007.
A delicious cross from Alves on the right very nearly finds Villa inside the Espanyol box but he cannot quite make contact with the ball with his left foot despite diving to try.
VILLA FIRES WIDE FROM 12 YARDS!! The Barcelona forward should be doing better there! He had time to take a touch to control the ball on the penalty spot, but with a clear sight of goal he curled a shot wide of the right-hand post.
The Cameroon international looks okay to continue despite that knock.
And just as we get going again, Song goes down following a crunching tackle from Forlin.
Play is paused momentarily as Valdes tends to his penalty area after some Espanyol fans had thrown some toilet rolls onto the pitch.
Great footwork from Stuani! The midfielder drifts away from Song and fires a shot towards goal that goes some way high and wide of Valdes' goal.
Mubarak needs to be careful. It's astonishing that he hasn't been booked yet. The Espanyol attacker has just gone looking for afters with Alves AGAIN.
GOOD PLAY FROM ESPANYOL! The home side launch a quick counterattack down the right through Garcia, who does very well to push the ball one side of Mascherano and retrieve it on the other. His clipped cross towards the back post fails to find Mubarark though.
Barcelona get the second half underway at Cornella-El Prat...
HALF-TIME: ESPANYOL 0-1 BARCELONA A sensational goal from Alexis Sanchez separates the two Catalan sides at the break, as Barcelona continue their march towards 100 points in La Liga. The Chile international combined well with Villa before beating two players and curling a shot past Alvarez to give Barca the lead. Cesc Fabregas had a fine chance to make it 2-0 shortly after, but his weak effort cannoned back off the post.
45' + 1'
A couple of crosses from the Barca flanks fail to create decent goalscoring chances, and the referee then blows his whistle to mark the end of the half.
Yellow CardRaúl Rodríguez
The fourth official signals for one minute of added time at the end of this first half.
SUPER EFFORT FROM INIESTA! The Barcelona midfielder unleashes a vicious strike with his right foot that swings a yard wide of Alvarez's goal.
And now Alves is clutching his face in agony. Mubarak was his usual exhuberant self as he went to challenge the Brazilian but I don't think he made contact with his face.
Fabregas collapses to the floor after being caught in the face by Lopez. The referee saw nothing though, and gave no free kick as play continued.
Thiago dinks a cross into the Espanyol box which leaves Colotto no option but to head the ball over his own crossbar. Barcelona waste the corner though, as Fabregas' high cross is plucked out of the air by Alvarez.
A few of you on Twitter are saying you'd like to see an all South American affair in Barcelona's attack next year, with Sanchez the man playing alongside Messi and Neymar. Personally I'd love to see Cristian Tello get more of a look-in. I don't think the fleet-footed youngster has been given enough of a chance to show his worth by the Blaugrana yet.
Barcelona are not happy about that challenge from Forlin! The Espanyol holding midfielder crashes through the back of Fabregas on the halfway line, and is very fortunate not to be booked.
Verdu finds Lopez with a sweeping pass out to the right. The full-back opts to play the ball back inside rather than taking on Alba, and this allows Thiago to nip in and steal possession for Barca.
That is some very calm defending from Rodriguez! The ball bounces high up in the air near the edge of the Espanyol box, but the centre-back does not panic as Villa chases him down, instead he safely cushions a header into the arms of his goalkeeper Alvarez.
IT SHOULD BE 2-0 TO BARCELONA! The move was made in North London as Song chipped a sublime pass over the Espanyol box to Fabregas. The former Arsenal captain opted to side foot the ball instead of hitting it with his laces, and could only look on in frustration as his shot crashed back off the post.
Barca take a corner short on the right, but Fabregas is eventually dispossessed by Colotto as he tries to glide into the box.
Mubarak has been late with his tackling on a couple of occasions in this first half, but the referee is yet to show the attacker a yellow card. His latest offering was an ugly number on Song that prompted wild gestures from Vilanova on the touchline.
Speedy Gonz-Alves keeps the ball in play brilliantly on the right for Barcelona, despite it looking destined for a Espanyol goal kick. The Brazilian hangs a cross up but Villa is unable to divert the ball towards goal.
The referee saunters over to the Barcelona technical area to have a word with Vilanova after the coach had been making his feelings clear about a couple of recent decisions.
A patient move from Espanyol breaks down after Mubarak tries an ambitious round-the-corner pass to Garcia after Verdu had fired the ball to him on the edge of the Barca box.
Sanchez makes a brilliant run off the ball on the left but Song fails to pick him out with a cross field pass. The Chilean would have been clean through on goal.
Jarque was a very close friend of Barcelona's Iniesta, with the Blaugrana star wearing a t-shirt that bore the message "Dani Jarque, always with us" after he scored the match-winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final against Netherlands.
The crowd remember Dani Jarque, the former Espanyol centre-back who died of a heart attack in 2009, by applauding for the whole of the 22nd minute.
Garcia flies into a challenge with Alba and it results in a cheap free kick for the visitors. Barcelona are looking comfortable here after a fairly open start to the game.
STAT: Barcelona have only won two of their last eight away matches in all competitions (W2, D3, L3).
Alves thumps a cross towards Villa in the Espanyol penalty area but Cristian Alvarez stops the former Valencia man from connecting with the pass by rushing from his line to catch the ball.
Hats off to Barcelona's midfielder Thiago by the way. The Spaniard is making his 100th appearance for the club, at the tender age of 22. That's younger than me...
That is Sanchez's best goal of the season by some way. It was a brilliant move and finish.
THAT IS A MAGICAL GOAL FROM SANCHEZ!! The Chile international plays a smart one-two with Villa before driving into the Espanyol box, dancing past the challenges of Colotto and Rodriguez and sweeping a curling shot into the far corner.
Despite rumours that some of the Espanyol line-up were going to turn their backs instead of performing a guard of honour for Barcelona tonight, none of them were that petulant, as the Liga champions were applauded onto the field.
Gerard Pique doesn't do Valdes any favours with a high back pass that the Barca goalkeeper has no choice but to head out of his penalty area. The ball went straight to an Espanyol player but the home side failed to profit from that lapse in concentration.
Verdu has started strongly for the hosts in attacking midfield and has already pinged some delicious passes into the Barcelona penalty area.
Alves jinxes past Mubarak and whips a great cross to Alexis who is lurking near the back post but the linesman has his flag up as the ball goes in, with Villa clearly in an offside position on the penalty spot.
With the news that Neymar is on his way to Camp Nou, who do you lot think will be the final piece in Barcelona's attacking trio come the start of next season? Neymar, Messi and.... Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @charliefscott.
STAT: Espanyol are on a four-match winless run in La Liga, losing three.
Alexis clips an inviting cross towards Villa inside the Espanyol box but Raul Rodriguez is alert to the danger and is in the right place to head the ball away.
Mubarak crashes into a challenge with Alves and Barcelona are awarded a free kick by the referee on the right-hand side.
EARLY CHANCE FOR GARCIA!! The Espanyol striker nods an effort wide of Victor Valdes' goal after some quick thinking from Joan Verdu creates the opportunity from a deep set piece.
Espanyol get things started, and quickly try and get Mubarak in behind Dani Alves on the left, but he is stopped by some solid defending from the Brazilian.
We are just minutes away from kick off at Cornella-El Prat, as the Espanyol fans dance in the stands ahead of this Catalan derby.
Barcelona start in their customary 4-3-3 formation, with Fabregas flanked by Villa and Sanchez in attack. Elsewhere, Thiago – who has been linked with a move away from the club this summer – lines up in midfield with Andres Iniesta and Alex Song.
The hosts welcome the two Joans, Capdevila and Forlin, back to their starting XI, but Hector Moreno misses out because of a thigh injury.
Barca (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Iniesta, Thiago, Song; Villa, Cesc, Alexis
Espanyol (4-2-3-1): Alvarez; Lopez, Colotto, Rodriguez, Capdevila; Sanchez, Forlin; Stuani, Verdu, Mubarak; Garcia
So how about we find out which lucky devils have been given the nod to start in attack for Vilanova's men?
His arrival puts added pressure on some of Tito Vilanova's fringe players, with Cristian Tello, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez all vying for what is likely to be just one position, with Neymar expected to start in an attacking three with Lionel Messi. With just two games left in this campaign they are running out of time if they want to impress Vilanova ahead of the Brazilian's arrival.
The Blaugrana announced the signing of Brazilian wunderkind Neymar earlier today, after one of the most exciting/painfully-drawn-out transfer sagas in recent years. The Santos attacker is set to move to Camp Nou at the start of June.
My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through proceedings as they unfold over in Spain, as Barcelona strive to match Real Madrid's record Liga points tally of 100, with two games left of the season to go. Espanyol, meanwhile, are sat in 11th place going into this game.
Good evening ladies and gents, and welcome to Goal's LIVE coverage of the 158th Catalan derby, that sees La Liga's runaway leaders Barcelona travel across the city to face Espanyol at Cornella-El Prat.
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