Espanyol v Barcelona – Story of the match
Gerard Pique’s late leveller cancelled out Gerard Moreno’s opener.
Gerard Pique netted a late equaliser as Barcelona salvaged a 1-1 derby draw at Espanyol which extended their unbeaten start to the LaLiga season to a club-record 22 games.
Espanyol had looked set to follow up last month’s shock Copa del Rey triumph over their neighbours with another upset when Gerard Moreno put them ahead in the 66th minute at a rain-drenched RCDE Stadium.
But Barca, whose cup quarter-final first-leg defeat here brought an end to their 29-match unbeaten run in all competitions this season, battled back and Pique ensured the spoils were shared.
Tweet of the match
Star man – Sergio Busquets
Far from the ideal conditions for the ball-playing holding midfielder but Busquets did as much as he could to ensure Barca kept faith with their trademark passing style.
View from the bench
With this game coming in the middle of a two-legged Copa del Rey semi-final with Valencia, and the return of the Champions League on the horizon, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde opted to start with star man Lionel Messi on the bench along with Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba. New Espanyol loan signing Carlos Sanchez was also among the substitutes. Messi, Alba and Sanchez all came on in the second half.
Barcelona set a new club record after extending their unbeaten start to their LaLiga campaign to 22 games – breaking the mark set by Pep Guardiola’s side in 2009/10. Real Sociedad hold the national record after going the opening 32 matches of the 1979/80 season without losing.
Espanyol: Diego Lopez 6 (out of 10), Marc Navarro 6, David Lopez 6, Naldo 6, Aaron Martin 6, Victor Sanchez 6, Sergi Darder 6, Leo Baptistao, 7 Esteban Granero 6, Jose Manuel Jurado 6, Gerard Moreno 7. Substitutes: Sergio Garcia (for Jurado, 61) 6, Javi Lopez (for Navarro, 76) 6, Carlos Sanchez (for Baptistao, 86), 6.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6, Nelson Semedo 6, Gerard Pique 7, Samuel Umtiti 6, Lucas Digne 6, Philippe Coutinho 6, Paulinho 6, Sergio Busquets 7, Andres Iniesta 6, Paco Alcacer 6, Luis Suarez 6. Substitutes: Lionel Messi (for Alcacer, 59) 6, Sergi Roberto (for Semedo, 59) 6, Jordi Alba (for Digne, 75) 6.
Who’s up next?
Valencia v Barcelona (Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, February 8)
Celta Vigo v Espanyol (LaLiga, February 11)