Barcelona BCN
1
Luis Suárez 55', Ansu Fati 49'
Espanyol ESP
0
Pol Lozano 52'
Full-time

Barcelona keep title race alive as they relegate rivals Espanyol

Barcelona - Espanyol live online: LaLiga Santander 2019/20

Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: how it happened

Barcelona ratings

It wasn't the impressive performance that we'd seen in the previous game, but the Griezmann-Messi-Suárez trident combined for the only goal of the game.

Post-match comments: Luis Suárez

Barça 1-0 Espanyol: on the whistle report

A much-needed three points takes Setién's troops to within a point of Madrid at the top of LaLiga, with Los Blancos in action on Friday evening.

For Espanyol, it is goodbye to the top flight of Spanish football for the first time since 1994. And for it to have happened at the hands of their local rivals can't have tasted nice.

With the home side struggling to break down a well-organised defence - as well as not having a striker reading some of the nice delivery that made it through - the second half came to life with two red cards either side of the 50-minute mark. Ansu Fati had only been subbed on at the interval and was a bit rash with his challenge which VAR helped turn from a yellow to red card.

No sooner were we back underway than Lozano went in hard on Piqué and the same yellow-to-red process played out.

With more space, there were chances at both ends, Espanyol having some of the better earlier ones, but it was a Griezmann-Messi-Suárez link-up that ensured only one side of the Catalan capital still had some hope to cling onto.

90+6

Peep, peep, peeeeeep! The final whistle goes and the hosts take all three points.

90+6

Bernardo gets his head to the ball but cannot keep it down and it drops onto the roof of the net. That should be that.

90+5

Espanyol have one final chance, a free-kick from near the dugouts which they're going to lift into a crowded penalty area...

90+4

David Lopez into the book for some free thinking. Maybe should have kept those thoughts to himself.

90+2

Rakitic off, Araujo comes on for the final couple of minutes

90+1

Penalty claim for Espanyol

From the corner another strike from distance is blocked by Vidal in the area. Question marks over whether it was his arm that got in the way but decision is that it was his shoulder.

90

Five minutes added

90

Messi and Vidal link-up to make something happen but are closed out.

Espanyol immediately break and RDT takes a hit from distance. Power, accuracy...but a big German pushes it away for a corner.

88

Another half-chance for the visitors to get something from this game.

Good play on the left by Campuzano allows him to fire a low ball across the area but Ter Stegen is out and down sharply to gather.

86

Lei Wu on for Roca

86

The corner is lifted to the near post but the whistle is blown for a push on Piqué.

85

Cabrera gallops down the left and whips in a deep cross, just evading his supporting teammates. A corner is won though.

84

It's crowded at the edge of Espanyol's 18-yard box and the visitors almost mess up their clearance. Foul called in the mass of bodies and they can take a breath.

That moment on 68'

82

Braithwaite coming on for goalscoring Suárez

As it stands

Barcelona go a point behind Madrid while Espanyol are relegated

77

A couple of corners for Espanyol caused the hosts some bother, but that goal net remains empty. Time for a water break.

75

Some delicious skills from both Messi (who looks like he's enjoying himself) and Jordi Alba, who killed a pass from distance that his Argentine teammate would have been proud of.

75

Bonilla on for Embarba

74

Messi has another chance to lay one on for a teammate - remember he's nearing the all-time record - as a free-kick is awarded on the right-hand side of the Espanyol area.

Half-blocked and cleared from a busy box.

Griez

Could number 17 please come in?

71

Vidal on for Griezmann for the last 20.

68

Talking about 'boom!' A chipped cross to the back post is met with the sweetest of volleys from Barça's number 10.

Sweeping it into the near side of the goal, Lopez somehow has his hands in the right place to block it away. Excellent from both.

66

Sergi Darder had just come on for Calero who took a knock earlier.

66

Boom!! What a thunderous hit from Darder but straight into the two-man wall. Surely that hurt.

66

A chance now for the visitors as a free-kick is awarded for Lenglet's dangerously high feet.

64

It's all Barça, knocking the ball around in the middle of the Espanyol half once again.

Rakitic tries to con the ref into giving him a free-kick on the edge of the area but he's mocked for his attempt.

Fati

"Do I still get my match bonus for 4-minutes' work'"

60

With two men off the field - just what you want on a balmy Spanish evening - Barça are looking to take the sting out of this. Plenty of control and Setién will want them to manage this game out.

56

Goooooaaaaaaallll!!!

Barça take the lead as a Griezmann backheel is hit by Messi, and his deflection falls to Suárez who slots home.

55

Lovely cross from the right is met by Griezmann's head. Nice redirection of the ball but it's just over.

55

OK. Let's hope we can get some football to talk about now.

54

RED CARD. Lozano is off too. Both teams down to ten and Piqué seems happier about that VAR intervention.

52

No sooner have we restarted and there's another VAR red card check.

Lozano in late on Piqué and the ref is reviewing his original yellow decision...

50

RED CARD. Ansu Fati is sent off. Piqué sarcastically claps. The virtual fans keep chanting seemingly non-plussed.

49

Wait a minute. VAR is checking the severity of the challenge. Could the punishment be doubled?

49

Fati is into the book already for a dangerous challenge on Calero. The Espanyol player is down injured and receiving treatment.

47

Espanyol hit down the left flank, a deep ball run onto by RDT but it runs out of play.

46

Barcelona immediately go long but the ball runs through to Lopez.

We're off!

Barça swap in Fati for Semedo

OK, the teams are out and we're about to get going.

A look ahead to the second half

Barça fans had started to get excited that maybe their attacking trident had finally found their feet in the impressive win over Villarreal. But there is something missing from that spark tonight.

A change like Ansu Fati could be a wise one and let him try to find a way through the well-organised defence.

As for Espanyol, it'll be more of the same. Keep the spaces at the back to a minimum, frustrate, and then hit on the break.

A tasteless MSG

A look back on the first half

As expected, Setién's side had the majority of the ball but, if truth be told, didn't do a lot with it to create openings.

Not one shot on target, although a number of deliveries into the danger area, and it would be fair to say that Espanyol had the better chances to score.

45+3

Munuera Montero blows up for the end of the first half.

45+2

Messi gets a final chance to make something happen before the break. Another free-kick delivery is good but again cleared.

45+1

Raul de Tomas into the book for a foul.

45

There will be three added minutes

44

POST! Espanyol almost take the lead

A fizzed cross from the left causes the problem and then Vila gets control around the penalty spot and tries to pass one low into the right corner. It skims off the outside of the upright.

42

Great tackle from Roca to prevent Messi from skipping into the danger area. Unfortunately for the visitors they are unable to hold onto the ball for long when they win it back.

39

Tidy play from Barça on the right wing but the space is quickly closed off and the ball is lost. Espanyol go direct and chase.

37

After an interception and clearance, Messi is back on the ball and whips in a fierce cross, one of those just begging for a forward's head to latch on.

Once again from the blaugrana, decent delivery, but nobody getting to the attacking space to collect.

36

We're back underway, and Barça pick up where they left off, knocking the ball around the middle of Espanyol's half.

33

Water break time

32

Alba has a crossed-effort blocked for a corner and from that it's more possession as it's taken short. Nothing doing.

30 minutes played

30

A few minutes of controlled possession from the hosts. A number of the interplays, and Messi dribbles in particular, are getting some appreciative applause from the virtual fans.

26

Good chance! Luis Suárez set free into the area, just to the left, and as he pulls the trigger the covering defender does well to block.

24

Sergi Roberto gets another run into the left channel but the ball runs out of play before he can get a cross in.

Meanwhile, we see a replay of Setién controlling a loose pass with nonchalance.

23

Messi time! A free-kick just outside of the away area has the Argentine licking his lips...

He steps up, whips his left boot around the ball and it flies just over the top right corner of the goal. Next time.

20

Espanyol get the chance to deliver into the Barça area after a foul from Semedo. Embarba stands over it and curls one in but it's well cleared.

18

Sergio gets down the left and slides across a very tempting ball. No one there and again the danger is only fleeting.

16

Lozano finds space for a shot but it's deflected away. The visitors making sure they're not just here for the inevitable.

14

A couple of corners handed to the home side and despite the delivery being good, the defenders manage to take care of them well and clear.

FCB

Early action

11

Just after that Barça danger, Embarba gets a run down the right and into the path of Ter Stegen. He takes it close, as defenders catch up, and hits it hard and low.

The big German blocks well.

10

The game is getting stretched already and Suárez sprints into the inside right channel where he loves to hustle his way in.

He manages to get round but there is no one to meet his cut back in the centre. Chances coming.

8

Espanyol look to escape quickly and almost do. It needed a better control from Roca and something could have been on.

4

The first real chance to score comes from a Griezmann cross. Well enough dealt with at the back though but a corner awarded.

Nothing comes it as it is taken short then Messi finds himself flagged for offside.

3

Lovely movement from the hosts, neat and quick passing between each other as they look to build something early.

1

Espanyol get us underway but it doesn't take long for Barça to get a hold of the ball. Expect them to have the lion's share of possession.

Peeeeeeeeeep!

The teams are ready and so are we...

Almost time...

Nou

All set for the action...

Piqué with the art of misdirection?

One view, shared by many, was that it was simply a case of masking some poor performances.

VAR accusations

In recent weeks, as results went the way of Madrid and against Barça, there were fingers being pointed at a favourable VAR for the capital side.

This was considered and the comparison didn't appear to back up the accusations.

Time for a loosener

The home players head out to the music for a warm-up.

...although in the mid-to-high 20s (C), plus the local humidity, a light stretch should be enough.

Barça stars still out

Frenkie De Jong (calf), Samuel Umtiti (knee) and Ousmane Dembélé (hamstring) remain out for Setién but he didn't have any of them for the Villarreal game and so will be pleased with what he has at his disposal.

Uphill task for RDT and co

If Espanyol do, as many expect, say goodbye tonight, it will be the first time they have dropped down the divisions since 1994.

Barça fans may enjoy relegating their local rivals - the oldest fixture in Spanish football - but it's a match-up that tends to go their way.

The last five meetings between these two have seen Barça win three with the other two draws, and the regional big-boys haven't actually lost in this fixture since way back in 2009.

A tastier sounding MSG

Setién, and the rest of us, potentially saw what an attacking line-up featuring Messi, Griezmann and Suárez can really do, as they created chance after chance against a very decent Villarreal side.

The French addition has been far from impressive since his big-money move from Leti but, at last, we saw what can happen when they click.

Will that be the exception that proves the disappointing rule? We'll get an opportunity to see again tonight.

Espanyol XI

Diego López, Víctor, Bernardo, Cabrera, Calero, Didac, Lozano, David López, Roca, Embarba, RDT

Barcelona XI

Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Rakitic, Messi, Suárez, Griezmann

Espanyol on the verge

If the home side see this as a must-win game, then it is hard to define the importance of all three points to the visitors.

Sat rock bottom of the table, and 11 points from safety (remember, there are only 12 more available) anything other than a win at their local rivals tonight will see them wave goodbye to the Spanish top flight.

Barcelona cannot drop points

After a few dodgy performances and points dropped following the restart of the season, Quique Setién's side cannot afford to slip up again if they have any hopes of winning the title.

Four points off Real Madrid at the summit, and only four games left to play, they will be looking to take all 12 and hope that their eternal rivals falter.

Barcelona vs Espanyol: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Barcelona vs Espanyol, which kicks off at the Camp Nou stadium at 22:00 CEST.

As usual, we have a useful guide for you to check out times around the world and where you can watch. 

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