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Barcelona v Espanyol Live Commentary, 08/07/2020

FT
1 - 0
BAR
ESP
L. Suárez (56)
Camp Nou

Commentary

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The reigning champions are now within a point of Real Madrid, who play their game in hand against Alaves on Friday. Next up for Barca is a trip to Real Valladolid on Saturday, a day before Espanyol - now without a point in six matches - host Eibar.
Barcelona grind out a 1-0 win against Espanyol to keep their slim LaLiga title hopes alive and relegate cross-city rivals Espanyol in the process. After a goalless first half that the visitors edged, things sparked into life when substitute Fati and Lozano were dismissed within eight minutes of the restart. Suarez made the breakthrough from close range soon after and that is how it remained.
90' + 6' FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
90' + 5' Espinosa meets a floated free-kick and loops a header goalwards. The ball does not dip enough, however, and it ends on the roof of the net.
David López
Yellow Card
Espanyol
90' + 4' Espanyol captain David Lopez enters the referee's book late on, seemingly for dissent.
90' + 3' Three of the five added minutes have been played at Camp Nou. It has been a valiant effort from Espanyol but they appear to have fallen just short. 
R. Araújo
I. Rakitić
Barcelona
90' + 2' Young defender Araujo is introduced in place of Rakitic late on.
90' + 1' PENALTY SHOUT! Espanyol are putting Barcelona under some pressure late on. The ball drops to Darder on the edge of the box and his shot hits Vidal on the shoulder. The visitors want a penalty but the referee - having checked in with VAR - waves away those appeals.
90' SAVE! Messi plays the ball inside to Vidal but the midfielder is unable to take it in his stride. Up the other end, De Tomas pulls the trigger from 30 yards out and Ter Stegen is forced into an awkward low save.
89' Setien's side are not really looking to add to their goals tally as we enter the final minute of normal time. It is a case of keeping hold of the ball until the end of the match, with Espanyol unable to turn over possession.
87' The home team have taken the sting out of the game. With just the one goal in it, however, there is still every chance of Espanyol snatching a late draw here.
Wu Lei
Marc Roca
Espanyol
86' Espanyol make another change, with Lei brought on in place of Roca.
84' Barca have not really managed to build any momentum since edging in front. Espanyol have also dropped off over the last 15 minutes, though, and the onus is very much on them to score.
M. Braithwaite
L. Suárez
Barcelona
82' Braithwaite is brought on in place of a tired Suarez for the final eight minutes of normal time.
81' This has been far from straightforward for Barca, and they are still not over the line just yet, but what a huge win it will be. Credit to Espanyol for giving it their all today, though their LaLiga stay is surely over.
79' Play resumes following the second and final cooling break of the match. Cabrera launches another long throw into the box but Espanyol are unable to do anything with it.
77' Barcelona make a mess of defending a couple of Espanyol corners, with De Tomas making a nuisance of himself. They hit their opponents on the counter but Messi overhits a pass and Alba has no chance of getting to it before Diego Lopez.
75' Campuzano is kept onside by Pique and charges into the Barcelona box. He does not really have any options, though, and Pique recovers by putting the ball behind for a corner.
Víctor Campuzano
Adri Embarba
Espanyol
74' Embarba, who has arguably been Espanyol's best player today, makes way for Campuzano.
74' The angle is against Messi but he tries his luck from the free-kick just outside the area. It hits a sea of bodies in the box and is cleared away.
73' At the age of 17 years and 251 days, Barcelona attacker Ansu Fati is the second youngest player to be sent off in the 21st century in LaLiga, second only to Marc Muniesa - also a player from Barcelona - at 17 years and 57 days.
A. Vidal
A. Griezmann
Barcelona
71' Vidal is on for Griezmann as Setien looks to pad out his midfield a little more.
70' That really was an impressive stop from Diego Lopez, who clattered into the post in the process of keeping the ball out. He is okay to continue.
69' WHAT A SAVE!! Roberto crosses the ball to the back post, where an unmarked Messi is waiting to meet it. He watches the ball all the way and thumps a thunderous volley on target, which Diego Lopez gets two hands to.
67' Embarba wastes the free-kick as he sends it straight into the two-man wall.
Darder
Fernando Calero
Espanyol
66' Calero, perhaps still feeling the effects of Fati's challenge a little earlier, is replaced by Darder.
65' Lenglet blocks the path of Gomez and Espanyol have a free-kick around 25 yards from the opposition goal. The visitors will make a substitution first...
63' Suarez dummies the ball and Messi looks to play it through to his strike partner, but it is cut out by an Espanyol player.
62' Setien's side are knocking the ball around now with a little more purpose. They could do with a second goal to make sure of the win, which would in turn send cross-city rivals Espanyol down to the second tier.
60' Barcelona boss Quique Setien is unbeaten in his last five managerial games against Espanyol in all competitions (W3 D2), this after losing three of his previous five (W1 D1 L3).
58' That goal will do Barcelona the world of good. They were second best in the first half and had not got going in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but they now have a lead to build on.
L. Suárez
Goal
Barcelona
56' GOOOAAAALLL!!! BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL!! Barca have the breakthrough and it is a well-worked goal for the hosts. Griezmann is played in down the left and back-heels the ball into the path of Messi, whose shot is blocked. Suarez gets on the end of the loose ball and guides it past Diego Lopez.
54' Lozano can perhaps consider himself a tad unfortunate there. He got some of the ball and his momentum took him through.
Pol Lozano
Red Card
Espanyol
53' ESPANYOL DOWN TO 10 MEN! Lozano follows through on Pique and is shown a yellow card. However, like the Fati decision a couple of minutes ago, the referee checks the pitchside monitor and changes his initial decision.
51' Fati will argue that he got a little bit of the ball before catching Calero, but it was a reckless challenge and he had to go. The youngster was only brought on at half-time, remember!
Ansu Fati
Red Card
Barcelona
50' BARCA DOWN TO 10! Both of Fati's feet are off the ground as he launches himself at Calero. He catches his opponent on the shin and is initially shown a yellow card, but the referee rightly changes that to a red when reviewing the incident.
48' De Tomas leaves the ball for Barbara to chase down. He is left with too much to do, though, and the it trickles out of play for a goal-kick.
46' RESTART! Barcelona, who failed to register a single shot on target in the first half of a home match for the first time this season, get us back under way.
Ansu Fati
Nélson Semedo
Barcelona
46' Fati is on for Semedo at half-time, which will likely mean Roberto dropping into defence.
Setien will know that far more is required from his side, having dominated possession - Barca had 74 per cent of the ball in the first half - without seriously troubling Espanyol. There is a lack of game-changing options on the bench, however, with the likes of Fati and Braithwaite among the hosts' subs.
A gripping first half ends goalless at Camp Nou. Suarez wasted a good opportunity for Barcelona but it is Espanyol who should be ahead. Embarba was denied by Ter Stegen from a one-on-one and the Barca keeper produced a good save to prevent Lenglet from scoring an own goal, before Vila clipped the post from the follow-up.
45' + 3' HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 0-0 ESPANYOL
45' + 2' Espanyol have now wasted two or three chances to open the scoring. It has been a positive first half for the visitors, who need to win today to avoid being relegated.
Víctor Sánchez
Yellow Card
Espanyol
45' + 1' Yellow Card Víctor Sánchez Mata
Raúl de Tomás
Yellow Card
Espanyol
45' De Tomas fouls Messi and is shown the first yellow card of the match by the referee.
44' OFF THE POST! Espanyol should be ahead! Vila is played through down the left. Instead of going for goal he crosses the ball and Lenglet, in an attempt to cut it out, forces Ter Stegen into a great save to stop an own goal. The loose ball is helped on to Vila and his shot clips the outside of the post.
43' Busquets produces a last-ditch tackle to prevent Embarba from racing clean through. That is the second time he has bailed out his side in this first half.
42' Another long throw causes panic in the Barcelona box. The ball is allowed to drop and Embarba tests Ter Stegen with a low drive, but the offside flag goes up anyway.
40' Setien's side are having no problems stringing together passes in the final third, but they cannot find that killer final ball. Espanyol have had to focus solely on defending over the last 10 or 15 minutes.
38' Messi's deep cross goes right out of play for a goal-kick. Roberto was closest to it but would not have reached the ball even at full stretch. 
37' Barca get us back under way following the two-minute stoppage. The hosts have had 75 per cent of the ball so far but have yet to manage a single shot on target - that has to change.
35' Messi is starting to turn it on now. He gets past a couple of players and passes to Alba. The cross is blocked and lands at the feet of Messi, whose own cross is then dealt with. It is time for the first cooling break of the match.
34' Griezmann plays a deep pass into the area. It drops in the six-yard box but Suarez cannot get a touch to it before Diego Lopez collects.
32' Barcelona work the ball down the right through Messi and then across to the left. When the cross eventually comes in it is cut out for a corner, which comes to little.
30' Roca knocks the ball past Lenglet and chases down his own pass, but Ter Stegen races off his line to sweep up.
29' That is a couple of good chances for Barcelona now as the hosts start to tighten their grip on the match. Messi is completely dictating the tempo of the game from a deep position.
27' CHANCE FOR SUAREZ! Griezmann delays the pass to Suarez but when it arrives it is perfectly weighted. The angle is slightly against Suarez and his shot deflects off Calero for a corner.
25' CLOSE! Cabrera and Lozano combine to take out Griezmann. Barca have a free-kick in a right-sided position 25 yards from goal, and there is only one candidate to take it on. Messi's effort is decent, with the ball skimming the roof of the net on its way over.
23' A couple of deliveries into the Barca box are headed clear. The visitors are enjoying a sustained spell on top with a quarter of the game played.
21' De Tomas makes a positive run in behind but is not spotted by his team-mates. Espanyol have started this game very well, finding a nice balance between defence and attack.
19' Messi jinks past a couple of players in a left-sided position inside the box. He plays a squared pass across the six-yard box but there is nobody there to meet it.
18' Vila cuts the ball back for Roca, whose shot hits Pique around 12 yards from goal. The loose ball is just out of Embarba's reach as Barcelona survive another scare.
16' Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been involved in 13 goals in his last eight LaLiga games against Espanyol (nine goals and four assists), including a hat-trick in September 2017 and a brace in March 2019 in his two last home meetings against them.
14' Semedo's low cross is cut out by Diego Lopez. Messi looks as though he is going for goal from the right-sided corner, but Lopez is again equal to it.
13' Rakitic puts the ball back across but it is an Espanyol player who gets to it first. This has been an entertaining game thus far, with Espanyol coming closest to scoring through that Embarba chance.
11' CHANCE FOR ESPANYOL! The visitors need to win today, remember, so they cannot sit back all game. Out of nowhere they create the first chance of the contest, with Embarba being played clean through down the right. He cuts inside and goes for goal, but Ter Stegen blocks the shot with his leg.
9' Messi slides the ball between two Espanyol defenders and Suarez is in behind down the right. He gets to the byline and attempts to pick out Griezmann, but Espinosa cuts it out.
7' A long throw is launched into the Barcelona box. Roca hooks it back into the middle after Pique half-clears, but Barca stand firm at the back.
6' Nine of Espanyol's 10 outfield players are stationed behind the ball as Barca patiently probe away. Messi is dropping so deep that he is effectively a holding midfielder at the moment.
4' Barca have seen plenty of the ball in the early stages, as expected. A long pass forward is chased down by De Tomas but Pique ushers it out of play for a goal-kick.
2' Unlike Villarreal at the weekend, Espanyol will not go toe-to-toe with Barcelona. The home side will have to break down the visitors' deep-lying defence.
1' KICK-OFF! Espanyol get this decisive Catalan derby up and running. Both teams require a victory today for different reasons.
The teams are coming out onto the pitch at Camp Nou, with kick-off just moments away. This match will be played behind closed doors, as will every other LaLiga game for the foreseeable future.
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 21 LaLiga derbies against Espanyol and have kept a clean sheet in 15 of those. Indeed, Barca have won their last 10 home league meetings with their cross-city rivals, netting an average of 3.3 goals per game.
Rufete, placed in caretaker charge last month, has made four alterations from the defeat to Leganes seven days ago. It is a change of formation, too, with Calero, Gomez and Vila being recalled to the side to form part of a back five. Further forward, Lozano is preferred to Lei in attack.
Setien has made one change to Barcelona's starting line-up on the back of their emphatic win at Villarreal three days ago, with Rakitic coming into midfield in place of the benched Vidal. Messi, Suarez and Griezmann linked up to good effect last weekend and continue in attack today.
Subs: Adria Pedrosa, Víctor Sanchez, Sergi Darder, Matias Vargas, Javi Lopez, Wu Lei, Daniel Villahermosa, Oier Olazabal, Oscar Melendo, Naldo, Nicolas Melamed, Víctor Campuzano.
ESPANYOL XI (5-4-1): Diego Lopez; Victor Gomez, Bernardo Espinosa, Leandro Cabrera, Fernando Calero, Didac Vila; Pol Lozano, David Lopez (c), Marc Roca, Adrian Embarba; Raul de Tomas.
Subs: Ansu Fati, Jorge Cuenca, Dani Morer, Riqui Puig, Arturo Vidal, Ronald Araujo, Martin Braithwaite, Inaki Pena, Neto, Monchu, Arthur, Alex Collado.
BARCELONA XI (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergi Roberto, Sergi Busquets, Ivan Rakitic; Lionel Messi (c), Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann.
Espanyol are winless in their last six league matches and have lost the last five of those, most recently going down 1-0 at home to Leganes. Francisco Rufete's side are rock bottom of the division, 11 points from safety with just 12 more points on offer, so defeat at the home of their cross-city rivals will send them down.
Barcelona enter this game sitting four points behind league leaders Real Madrid with four matches to play. Quique Setien's side have struggled for form since returning to action last month, but they did turn on the style with a 4-1 victory at in-form Villarreal on Sunday.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the LaLiga meeting between Barcelona and Espanyol at Camp Nou.