clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

La Liga: RCD Espanyol 0-2 FC Barcelona: Match Review

A recap of Barcelona's convincing victory over RCD Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday afternoon, as goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi were enough to secure the three points

David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona cruised to a comfortable derby victory over city rivals RCD Espanyol on Saturday afternoon, overwhelming their noisy neighbours with a sensational first-half performance en route to a 2-0 victory. Right from the start, the gulf in class between the two sides was painfully evident and if not for Kiko Casilla, the Blaugrana could have probably pushed for double figures. As things were, Barça seemed quite content with their margin of victory as goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi were enough to secure the three points.






Total Shots



Shots on Target












Yellow Cards



Red Cards



Luis Enrique made one change to the side that dominated Paris Saint-Germain in midweek; out went Ivan Rakitić who was relegated to the bench with Rafinha Alcântara taking his place in the centre of midfield. It was a smart, somewhat expected change by Enrique, one that very much was influenced by the hectic fixture schedule, not to mention maintaining some continuity as we squared off against our city rivals in one of the toughest matches left on the La Liga calendar.


Barcelona started the match well, immediately establishing themselves as the offensive side in the encounter and really, our electric start to the match should have resulted in a goal or two. Within 120 seconds of the start, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar were combining, creating a chance for the latter which was well-saved by Kiko Casilla, who was called into action a few minutes later to deny Luis Suarez’ point-blank header. In both sequences, Lionel Messi’s vision and unparalleled passing ability was causing chaos in the Espanyol defense.

Somehow, someway, the hosts held firm. The visitors however were looking rampant; this was a sensational start to proceedings and if we could maintain this kind of momentum, this kind of tempo, the opener would surely follow in due course.

And it seemed as though we had found our breakthrough in the 11th minute; once again, Lionel Messi had dropped deep and was putting his incredible passing to good use as he split the Espanyol defense to create an opportunity for Neymar. The Brazilian had done well to stay onside and find space with his run, and we expected to see the net ripple at the end – and it did, albeit the roof of the net as Neymar’s attempted chip landed on the top of the goal.

It was a difficult chance to convert, but after his brace in midweek, one couldn’t help but expect a little more.

Never mind, Espanyol simply had no answer for Messi’s vision and the movement of both Neymar and Suarez. More chances would follow, and before long, we would convert, right?


In some style as well; this was superlative football in every sense and after missing a couple of early chances, it was only fitting that Neymar would convert the opening goal. Messi was involved once again, initiating the play with a trademark lofted through ball to find Jordi Alba on the overlap. The Catalan full-back opted for a first-time cross, a cross that Luis Suarez expertly dummied to befuddle the Espanyol defense and allow Neymar to tuck home from close range.

Absolutely incredible football. We were 20 minutes into the match at the Power8 Stadium and Espanyol had barely left their own half – I’m not even being melodramatic, Espanyol just couldn’t get the ball and Barça were pushing forward with wave after wave of attack. This was getting out of hand.

It wasn’t long before Barcelona had found their second of the afternoon. Andrés Iniesta switched the play with a fine lofted pass of his own, again to stretch the Espanyol defense as he found Luis Suarez in space on the right-hand side of the Espanyol area. Naming no names, but perhaps some other leading stars in La Liga would have gone for goal – not a chance with Suarez as he diverted the ball first-time across the area where Lionel Messi took a touch and finished from an absurd angle at the far post.

There were no words to describe just how impressive this performance had been, and worryingly for Espanyol, they still had over an hour left to endure. Mercifully, Barça stepped off of their throat, momentarily, prioritising possession itself over the creation of chances. We’d got our healthy lead, it was time to turn it down a notch – although Espanyol still couldn’t get near us and if not for Kiko Casilla, they would have been behind by three.

Neymar had the shot, created by Luis Suarez with a deft little flick, as the Uruguayan continued his selfless streak with what could have been another fine assist. The ball had spun up nicely for Neymar to strike on the volley and strike he did, wrapping his foot through the ball and forcing a fine save from Casilla. This was Globetrotter football from Barcelona – as much I wished that this half would never end, it had to come to a close eventually and Espanyol could count themselves fortunate to only be two goals behind.


Indeed, the same could be said after the opening stages of the second-half; Barcelona didn’t start quite as well as they did in the first, but carelessness from the Espanyol midfield gifted possession to Sergio Busquets and the Catalan picked apart the defense with a superb through ball. The beneficiary? Neymar, of course, and the Brazilian raced through on goal looking for his second goal of the afternoon only to be denied by Kiko Casillas as he again went for a cheeky chip.

Barça were comfortable, holding a healthy lead and playing arguably their best football of the season. And then things started to go a little sour. Jordi Alba took offense to a decision made by the referee, one that admittedly looked correct to me on the replay. The end result was initially a yellow card for dissent, but Jordi continued to display his displeasure and he seemed to say something untoward at the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz. A red card was immediately brandished and Alba will surely be facing a lengthy ban as a consequence.

Before long, Jeremy Mathieu replaced Rafinha to restore our full complement of defenders and Espanyol tried to drive forward to reduce the deficit. They were getting closer than they had before, but still Barça were in control and Bravo barely had to move to make his first save of the match. In fact, even for their man advantage, Espanyol rarely got any closer than Barça, who probably should have scored their third on a breakaway through Lionel Messi.

Still, we’d done more than enough to secure the three points and that’s all that mattered.

Next up, FC Barcelona welcome Getafe CF to the Camp Nou on Tuesday, but until then, Visca el Barça!

Roll Call Info
Total comments 565
Total commenters 47
Commenter list Abhishek-Culé, AngelCul1, Antonio Moreira, Artemis11, Ayush Tiwari, BDBarca, Barcasura, Bostjan Cernensek, Catalan_Blood, Delano Heerkens, DerkSensei, DudeBV, FCBMo, Inder Methil, Lapulga, LocoZZZ, NamesTroyResideInTheDMV, NoImagination90, Rajesh1101s, Richzorz, Ron10, Sony13, Steven Cordero, Swn.Culé, Tokjee, Waje.y, Willis1984, Yuro_Doosh, Z Ahmad, abdulla0207, avyator, barca4life1273, cefiro22, cule-since-1992, feeya7, footballfordoze, hobo_barca, jithen, llamas612, luck-ycoltsfan19, oddsbodiSkins, pagesiderageside, shrey.arora, shubham2806, syredeathtrooper, totaalvoetbal, waseem10
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Artemis11 85
2 Delano Heerkens 81
3 Bostjan Cernensek 73
4 luck-ycoltsfan19 50
5 Barcasura 38
6 Catalan_Blood 19
7 feeya7 18
8 AngelCul1 18
9 BDBarca 17
10 Tokjee 15
11 Inder Methil 15
12 Sony13 12
13 DudeBV 11
14 Yuro_Doosh 10
15 oddsbodiSkins 10
16 Rajesh1101s 9
17 pagesiderageside 9
18 cefiro22 9
19 avyator 8
20 jithen 4
21 DerkSensei 4
22 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV 4
23 Richzorz 4
24 Lapulga 3
25 FCBMo 3
26 totaalvoetbal 3
27 Antonio Moreira 3
28 LocoZZZ 3
29 Willis1984 2
30 hobo_barca 2
31 cule-since-1992 2
32 shrey.arora 2
33 waseem10 2
34 shubham2806 2
35 Abhishek-Culé 2
36 Steven Cordero 2
37 NoImagination90 1
38 Waje.y 1
39 abdulla0207 1
40 Ayush Tiwari 1
41 barca4life1273 1
42 llamas612 1
43 syredeathtrooper 1
44 footballfordoze 1
45 Z Ahmad 1
46 Swn.Culé 1
47 Ron10 1

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes