There is a clear gap between the Barcelona that played the crucial match against Atletico Madrid and the team that played the Barcelona Derby against Espanyol this weekend. We can see that the Catalan club was not at its best against Espanyol by analysing both performances. Also, the team is still suffering in the away games.
But somehow, the last-minute equaliser from Luuk de Jong took Barcelona back to the top four. Xavi Hernandez’s side moved back into the fourth and final Champions League spot, level on 39 points with Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona stunned the home fans at the RCDE Stadium in the second minute after Pedri opened the scoring for the away side. It was Pedri’s first goal of the season for the team. The team just started from where they stopped at Camp Nou last week against Atletico Madrid. But that goal was a warning of Espanyol, and they reacted well to it.
Espanyol did not make the same mistake that they did in the first minutes. They started to attack more fluently as they knew Barca’s defence was not so strong.
Adama Traore and Ferran Torres tried to add the second goal. But defensively, Espanyol was more organised at their home stadium.
The home side opened their scoring minutes before the halftime whistle as Sergi Darder curled the ball into the net from outside the box. Ter Stegen was helpless, and the score was 1-1 at halftime.
In the second half, Barcelona had to substitute their key defender Ronald Araujo as he was injured. This substitution was too costly for them. Eric Garcia came in for him, and it was his lack of concentration in the game gave the second goal to Espanyol through Raul de Tomas in the 64th minute.
Espanyol’s second goal was a massive blow to Barcelona’s plans of coming back into the game. The home side started to defend more than ever, and Xavi then bombarded the Espanyol box with quality crosses from Adama Traore.
To connect those crosses, he played Aubamenyang. But he failed in doing so. In the 86th minute, Xavi decided to bring in Luuk de Jong, hoping to get the equaliser.
Gerard Pique and Nico Melamed both saw red following a coming together off the ball in the added minutes. The absence of one player in both teams affected Espanyol the most, and Barca scored the equaliser in the 96th minute after Traore’s cross was well connected by Luuk de Jong.
“A positive point in the end. We had good moments in both halves. Espanyol created very little but they were more clinical. It was an intense game. Real Madrid have already lost here this season. We could have won if we took our chances,” Xavi said. “We could also have lost in the end but that would have been unfair. We’re still in the fight for the Champions League and we have to keep battling.”