Espanyol-Barcelona live stream online: LaLiga 2017-18
Gerard Moreno for the hosts and Gerard Piqué for the visitors bagged the goals as the derbi barceloní ended 1-1 in a sodden RCDE stadium.
Espanyol and Barcelona played out a feisty and error-strewn 1-1 draw in the derbi barceloní at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday, Gerard Moreno and Gerard Piqué scoring similar headed goals on a surface that did not lend itself to intricate passing moves.
Piqué, as he so often is, was the centre of attention from the outset, every touch the Barcelona defender had being met with a cacophony of whistles from the crowd after his comments about Espanyol’s geographical location within the Barcelona metropolitan area. It was little surprise then that he scored the equaliser to deny Espanyol a first Liga derby win since 2009 and duly milked the vitriol from the stands by putting his finger to his lips.
Beyond the Piqué pantomime, it was a cruel blow for Espanyol and Quique Sánchez Flores, whose side stuck to their game plan and would have been worthy winners after creating plenty of danger in the Barça area. Moreno’s goal came from a tactical switch from Sánchez Flores, who sent on Sergio García to prowl the right flank where Moreno had profited until that stage, moving the forward inside. The two combined to great effect, García whipping in a wonderful cross that eluded Piqué’s outstretched boot but landed plum on the head of Moreno, whose powerful header was too much for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to keep out despite the Barça keeper getting a firm hand to it.
Messi powerless to tame the RCDE pitch
As the pitch deteriorated and the play with it, both sides began to get involved in individual battles as the foul count crept up. In an attempt to add some guile to his side Ernesto Valverde sent on Leo Messi with half an hour to play but even the Argentinean genius could not apply his deft brushwork to the sodden canvas at his disposal. As with Espanyol’s goal it required an aerial ball to cut out the problematic turf, which was so waterlogged in places that the ball simply stopped in its tracks between players.
It was Messi who provided it, swinging in a corner from the right that Piqué stuck his neck out towards among a wave of blue and white shirts, sending a bullet header through Diego López and sending the RCDE into a frenzy of jeers.
In the final minutes tempers flared on the pitch as Moreno scythed through Piqué and Samuel Umtiti took umbrage at a challenge in midfield. Both sets of players squared up, Sergio Busquets and Leo Baptistao getting involved unnecessarily, and it took a few minutes for the referee to restore order.
When he had, Espanyol had a late chance to upset the natural order of the derby when Moreno put García through but the Espanyol forward was bundled off the ball, his appeals for a penalty falling on deaf ears.
Sánchez Flores will settle for a point against a side with Barça’s attacking power and Valverde will not be too displeased either as Barça extended their lead over Real Madrid to 19 points with the nearest challengers to the champions-elect, Atlético and Valencia, playing each other later on Sunday.
Espanyol vs Barcelona live online: as it happened
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