Barcelona, July 9
Barcelona saved up their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid within the La Liga title race by beating metropolis rivals Espanyol 1-Zero at dwelling on Wednesday, additionally condemning their neighbours to relegation from the highest flight.
Luis Suarez struck the one purpose of the sport within the 56th minute, lashing a free ball into the web for his 195th purpose with Barca which took him previous Hungarian Laszlo Kubala because the membership’s third high scorer of all time.
The purpose got here shortly after either side had been lowered to 10 males in a frantic begin to the second half.
Barca’s teenage ahead Ansu Fati was despatched off for a reckless sort out 5 minutes after coming off the bench however Espanyol’s numerical benefit lasted solely three minutes as Pol Lozano was dismissed, additionally following a VAR assessment.
Barca, chasing a 3rd consecutive Spanish title, are on 76 factors after 35 video games whereas Real Madrid are high with 77 and might restore their four-point benefit once they host Alaves on Friday.
Espanyol, considered one of Spain’s most prestigious golf equipment, had been relegated for the primary time since profitable promotion again to La Liga in 1994. They are backside of the desk on 24 factors after 35 video games.
Barca had produced considered one of their greatest performances of the season by hammering Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday however they regarded sluggish at an empty Camp Nou, which usually would have been in full voice on derby day.
“We knew how difficult this game would be because of Espanyol’s situation and we were tired from Sunday’s game and we played with less intensity,” Suarez mentioned.
“But the important thing is that we won the game and picked up more points.”
Espanyol annoyed their extra illustrious neighbours within the first half with a five-man defence and created the higher possibilities.
Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen needed to be conscious to stop his staff mate Clement Lenglet from scoring an personal purpose simply earlier than halftime and Espanyol’s Didac Vila fired the free ball towards the submit.
Ter Stegen had additionally come to Barca’s rescue earlier, spreading his physique and holding out a low strike from Adri Embarba together with his leg.
“We did not play well today,” mentioned Barca coach Quique Setien.
“Their defensive shape made life very difficult for us as they were very tight and compact and we weren’t precise enough to find a way around it.”
Barca discovered a means by way of with the assistance of their three forwards, as Antoine Griezmann raced to the byline and handed to Lionel Messi whose shot deflected into the trail of Suarez and the Uruguayan made no mistake.
Suarez now solely trails the late Cesar, who netted 232 objectives for Barca and record-holder Messi who has scored 630 for the membership. Reuters