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FC Barcelona 4-1 RCD Espanyol: Match Review

Review of Barça's victory at the half way stage of the tie courtesy of goals from Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Neymar.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona started 2016 with a disappointing 0-0 draw in the Barcelona derby but it wasn't long before they had a chance at revenge. Espanyol were the opponents again on Wednesday night as the attention switched to the cup competition.

Barcelona Espanyol
Possession 76% 24%
Total Shots 22 2
Shots on Target 12 1
Corners 13 2
Fouls 12 20
Offsides 10 2
Yellow Cards 4 6
Red Cards 0

The game signalled a landmark for summer signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal as it was the first game they were available to play in since arriving at the club. While Vidal had to wait a little longer for his debut, Turan was picked for his first start at the Camp Nou and joined his teammates for the prematch warmup with a gleeful smile on his face.

However, the game was soon upon us and the focus switched to dealing the first blow in this two-legged affair. Having been subdued at the weekend, Neymar started this game very brightly. He was operating on the left wing whilst dropping in into a central position to receive the ball and it took just two minutes for his first shot. Gathering the ball on the edge of the area, the effort looked goal bound but met the back of Lionel Messi instead.

The next chance, again, had the Brazilian involved. His drifted corner was met well by a rising Sergio Busquets but the strong header was wide of the post.

Barça were looking to hit early before Espanyol had chance to settle but it was the visitors who struck first. With Vidal watching on, Dani Alves lost the ball high up the pitch giving Espanyol the chance to break. The on-loan Madrid man Marco Asensio raced away towards a backtracking Gerard Piqué. With the centre-back being forced to come across and cover, it meant Felipe Caicedo was free in the middle. Asensio slid the ball across and the Ecuadorian striker calmly slotted past Marc-André ter Stegen.

Having gone ninety minutes without a goal in the previous outing, it took just nine minutes to get the first and four minutes later, we had the second. After Luis Suárez dribbled upfield, the ball bounced away from him and fell just outside the box. Neymar stretched for it but it reached Andrés Iniesta who passed it through the Espanyol defence and to the feet of Lionel Messi.

Messi took the ball under control before side footing it with his left foot into the right side of the net. Pau reached but the ball was too close and too quick for him to do anything about it. It was 1-1 and Espanyol's lead was short lived.

After the equaliser, the game slipped back into the stop-start nature typically associated with derbies. A late challenge here, a slight push there and before long the players were in the faces of each other with Pau seemingly up for an argument with anyone in a Barça shirt. Andrés Iniesta turned into chief defuser as he pulled the players apart but the tension was simmering.

Getting back to his more familiar game, Iniesta was running the show. His dribbling and ball retention was superb and the majority of Barça attacks were coming through him. One of these attempts was a Neymar effort. Iniesta found Neymar on the left wing and the Brazilian lined up the curled effort. The ball beat the keeper and the post but Neymar was convinced it took a flick off the defender however the referee didn't agree.

With Barcelona taking control, Espanyol's night was made a little worse as the goalscorer Caicedo pulled his hamstring. In visible discomfort he singled to the bench that his game was over.

Barça were searching for the goal that would take them ahead but their final ball wasn't quite there and it looked like the teams would be going in level at halftime. However, Espanyol conceded a free kick in prime Messi area. The Argentine stepped up and curled the ball up and over the wall. It looked to be colliding with the bar but the effort hit the underside of the woodwork and ricocheted into the net. Barça had got the goal on the stroke of halftime

The Catalans started the second period in the same vein as the final minutes of the first. They were playing fast paced, attacking football in search of the two goal cushion. Messi was floating across the pitch and it was through him that Barça got the third but this time the number 10 was the provider. Again, Iniesta found Messi and he took it down the left of the box. As he got to the byline, he drilled it across and the centre-back turned centre-forward Gerard Piqué was on hand to tap in the chance.

It was all Barça and the chances kept coming. Messi flicked it wide, Turan found the side netting, a smart free kick from Neymar was saved but the fourth did feel like it was coming. With Barça cruising, Luis Enrique elected to ring the changes. Arda Turan's debut was over as he was replaced by Ivan Rakitić but it was the turn of Aleix Vidal to experience what it was like to play in a Barça shirt.

Turan had done well on his debut. No goal as I'm sure he would've liked but what was important was that he fit with the Barça style.

The task ahead of Espanyol was made a lot harder in the 72nd minute as Hernan Perez received his marching orders. Jordi Alba looked to go round the Espanyol defender but he was held and the referee showed the second yellow.

A few minutes later and Espanyol were down to nine. In a tangle with Luis Suárez, Papakouli Diop must have said something the referee didn't like as he was shown a straight red card. It's puzzling to think what could've been said to warrant a red but the referee showed no hesitation in reaching for his card. However the cards weren't exclusive to the visitors as both Messi and Piqué picked up yellows in a ten minute flurry.

The game was winding down as Barça were on the cusp of a comfortable win but that lead was made a little greater in the 87th minute. Neymar played a great one-two with Messi as the Argentine chipped the ball into the Brazilian's path. Neymar volleyed it into the far corner and got his deserved goal.

The whistle blew at 4-1 and it would take miracle for Espanyol to overturn the result in the second leg.

Roll Call Info
Total comments 798
Total commenters 57
Commenter list **Ade**, AJKhan, Abhiforbarca, AllAboutStyle, Anders Thomassen, AngusLB, Anirudh_Kul, Ashraf Arefin, AzBlaug, Barca4lif, BarcaBarca, Barca_24, Barcano1, CptAssHurt, Daxterflames, Delano Heerkens, ElasticFan, FCBMSN, FCBVIlle, Geniussssssss, GreyGhostIniesta, Haliaetos, Himanshu96, KiwiBarca, Mike Laughead, NamesTroyResideInTheDMV, Piyush_, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Ruy Diaz, SUMYTH90, Sebanovic, ShantanuC, Som-i-Serem, Swn.Culé, TheGodfather21, VarmaFCB, Yuro_Doosh, ash_kumar, avyator, chrisolin65, cruyffish, davidvillathelegend, devilmaycry, dewoul, el_uruguayo, feeya7, footballfordoze, getreus, godnkls, knorkinator, ledhe, mightyobie, purpleheart81, semperty, syredeathtrooper, the 9th plague, vireyda
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Piyush_ 85
2 Delano Heerkens 72
3 BarcaBarca 65
4 chrisolin65 55
5 Yuro_Doosh 54
6 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV 52
7 Som-i-Serem 41
8 **Ade** 39
9 Daxterflames 36
10 KiwiBarca 24
11 Barcano1 24
12 avyator 19
13 Anirudh_Kul 17
14 syredeathtrooper 17
15 purpleheart81 17
16 AngusLB 17
17 Himanshu96 15
18 Barca_24 13
19 AllAboutStyle 13
20 semperty 10
21 VarmaFCB 10
22 Ruy Diaz 9
23 footballfordoze 9
24 the 9th plague 8
25 davidvillathelegend 6
26 vireyda 5
28 dewoul 5
29 devilmaycry 5
30 ShantanuC 5
31 feeya7 5
32 godnkls 3
33 ElasticFan 3
34 Abhiforbarca 3
35 mightyobie 3
36 el_uruguayo 3
37 Mike Laughead 2
38 Anders Thomassen 2
39 Ragnar_Lothbrok 2
40 Ashraf Arefin 2
41 Sebanovic 2
42 Haliaetos 1
43 knorkinator 1
44 ledhe 1
45 GreyGhostIniesta 1
46 AJKhan 1
47 SUMYTH90 1
48 FCBVIlle 1
49 Swn.Culé 1
50 TheGodfather21 1
51 Geniussssssss 1
52 AzBlaug 1
53 CptAssHurt 1
54 cruyffish 1
55 Barca4lif 1
56 getreus 1
57 ash_kumar 1
# Recs Commenter Comment Link
10 **Ade** Douglas: 1 season, 5 trophies.
8 Daxterflames Not this time post. NOT THIS FUCKING TIME
6 KiwiBarca NEW FACES, cant wait
5 syredeathtrooper Don't know about you guys
5 Piyush_ Not awarding that penalty was not a mistake-RFEF
5 Som-i-Serem And they are wannabe Malmo when they face Real Madrid.
5 Piyush_ Joke of a match, from refereeing point of view
4 Delano Heerkens Haha
4 cruyffish can't wait to see Arda
4 chrisolin65 Pique: 1 Shot, 1 Goal
3 Yuro_Doosh I still can't believe they gave Suarez a yellow for that
3 FCBMSN Neymar needs to calm down! Learn from Messi, man! Just ignore them...rub it on them with nutmegs and dribbles, the only way you can win such wars!
3 Piyush_ [no title]
2 Daxterflames Turan under Simeone would've brought out the boot gun
2 Piyush_ I did, but control, look at Neymar, that angry look
2 Som-i-Serem Messi is angry.
2 **Ade** Fuck this keeper for that dangerous stamp.
2 Ruy Diaz THAT
2 VarmaFCB Why are the reffs so bad and how come barely anyone in the media is complaining about this?
2 Piyush_ Liga Flo..
2 Daxterflames There's a limit to how much one can calm down when he's getting kicked constantly
2 **Ade** Ok
2 Daxterflames I love the fact that Lucho asked the team to play on when Caciedo was lying down
2 Piyush_ not the wannabe part
2 feeya7 Fuck Espanyol, they play like barbarians.
2 BarcaBarca i would ban you, you're lucky i can't.
2 Delano Heerkens You're such a bitch
2 **Ade** Refs in Spain.
2 godnkls Ref always plays on
2 Daxterflames Pssst. It's run by you know who
2 Som-i-Serem What a goal!!
2 Piyush_ you really want to compare Douglas, and Adriano to Rakitic? :joy:
2 devilmaycry And BTW this espanyol team is quickly becoming one of my most hated team right behind chelshit and RM
2 mightyobie Agree
2 VarmaFCB BUT... we still want to win it fair and square if we deserved a pen
1 Som-i-Serem So happy with Arda and Aleix today.
1 BarcaBarca Messi is PISSED.
1 SUMYTH90 Iniesta was untouchable today
1 Yuro_Doosh "My mother isn't- oh..."
1 Som-i-Serem More Magic from Iniesta.
1 footballfordoze I love FA's approach of post match ban
1 Delano Heerkens The wrong person to wine up
1 **Ade** Madridistas believed no combo was better than big bl...
1 syredeathtrooper This match was nearly as comical as Real Madrid Football Club
1 **Ade** You can't apologize after chopping a players legs.
1 AngusLB That keeper can team up with Diego Costa
1 Som-i-Serem Better than PB&J you asked?
1 Daxterflames Last time Messi was angry.
1 BarcaBarca WHOA nice "offsides" ref.
1 the 9th plague ahaha.. the goalkeeper "accidentally" steps on messi's shin..
1 syredeathtrooper He could've easily had 5 assists
1 avyator Madarchodh saala
1 Som-i-Serem What a finish Suarez!
1 Mike Laughead So happy for this result.
1 BarcaBarca Turan is a fucking master. I was happy he was here but now I'm ecstatic!!
1 AllAboutStyle When Lucho wants someone so badly
1 Yuro_Doosh LMAO
1 ShantanuC Pique's like:
1 Yuro_Doosh Not because Turan/Roberto should be starting ahead of Rakitic, but because you called him a "joke." Don't try any straw-man arguments here;
1 chrisolin65 The linesman is FUCKING BLIND
1 Som-i-Serem That studs up tackle by the Espanyol player :rage:
1 dewoul No straw-man arguments. Scroll up on the comments just for this game and you'll see people calling Alves worse things. Don't even get me started on what some have said about Douglas, Adriano, Vermaleen etc. Where was the outrage then?
1 Delano Heerkens How was that offside?
1 Delano Heerkens Vidal showing why Alves better beware
1 vireyda I love this
1 Piyush_ Neymar has to get used to those diagonal balls again :stuck_out_tongue:
1 Himanshu96 More of that please Neymar !
1 **Ade** In all honesty.
1 Yuro_Doosh dewoul, look, I ain't got nothin' against you, and neither do the others.
1 Piyush_ Espanyol player raised his hand, that's a foul in ref's eyes
1 BarcaBarca DIOP is going to get "Diop'd" if he keeps it up.
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV "Handing out yellows like speeding tickets at the Indy 500"
1 Delano Heerkens Listen to that ovation for our new boys
1 Delano Heerkens Our flanks are about to be on FIRE!!!
1 Daxterflames Let me lie down in front of the player
1 dewoul Wait so everyone wants to have me banned because I am insinuating that Arda Turan or Roberto should be starting ahead of Rakitic? How many people on here have said similar things about Mascherano, MATS, Douglas, Alves? I say it now and I am a bitch.
1 Delano Heerkens Messi...
1 avyator LMAO Suarez talkin shit to the keeper afterwards
1 syredeathtrooper HOLY FUCK NEVERMIND!
1 Yuro_Doosh ...yet not far enough
1 Som-i-Serem A combination of a lot of wind and a lot of thugs.
1 footballfordoze This is turning into like Jose Mourinho led Clasico
1 Som-i-Serem Messi's FK today is pure genius.
1 semperty God this site is overly aggressive at game time.
1 Daxterflames What the actual flying fajitas?
1 chrisolin65 Only 2mins? What a joke
1 avyator Never fuck with Mascherano.
1 Daxterflames It's not that they're hard to beat
1 semperty I've listened to him a lot this season...
1 Yuro_Doosh If Sergio Busquets contributed toward the ACL tearing of half the Espanyol team, I personally wouldn't give a f
1 semperty Do you not listen to Ray, or...?
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV Oh snap I finally figured out how to change the audio to english on Beins spanish channel
1 Piyush_ [no title]
1 Piyush_ Good good
1 chrisolin65 That was a fucking penalty
1 Som-i-Serem MAGIC!
1 AngusLB If Pogba tries that
1 chrisolin65 yes
1 Delano Heerkens How that's not a penalty will need to be explained to me
1 Piyush_ You would be glad you aren't able to watch this game
1 semperty It's not just against Espanyol, though...
1 BarcaBarca It's like "Take that!" Or more rudely "Take this D into your A, you F words."
1 Delano Heerkens No
1 Som-i-Serem Brilliant pressing from Suarez and Neymar there.
1 Piyush_ Messi out wide on the left :smile:
1 BarcaBarca Π - QUE!!
1 Yuro_Doosh A forward just did a midfielder's job by helping a defender do the forward's job
1 Daxterflames No way!
1 Yuro_Doosh Messi, my friend, your goals speak volumes more than your anger does
1 VarmaFCB Messi doesn't like seeing his teammates getting kick around
1 BarcaBarca It takes a lot to make Messi angry..
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV Arda had Suarez for years there
1 BarcaBarca Pornhub :disappointed:
1 Som-i-Serem Nooo.... Alba!
1 FCBMSN As I said, only one way to win such wars...otherwise, he will hurt the team with too much yellows and red cards!
1 semperty There wouldn't be any control in that team.
1 BarcaBarca 8* more
1 Barcano1 what a game!
1 footballfordoze lol....seeing the replay
1 Piyush_ Espanyol is wannabe Atletico Madrid(when they play against Barca), except they can never be that
1 syredeathtrooper And you'd have been devoid of all the brilliance Iniesta has shown in the first half
1 Daxterflames Me wants a MSN hattrick
1 Delano Heerkens Him
1 Daxterflames Plus how Masche wasn't having none of his bullshit
1 Piyush_ Yeah, how he wasted time, and the ref allowed it -_-
1 chrisolin65 The linesman is a joke

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