La Liga this season has been one of the most competitive leagues, especially when compared to English and French leagues. Barcelona drew their match against rock bottom Espanyol 2-2, such results only contribute to the excitement of a neutral towards the league. However, it also contributes to the growing frustration of Camp Nou admirers towards Ernesto Valverde.
It was one of those matches which Barcelona should have dominated given the big gulf of quality between the two teams. But only if they would have played in accordance with their ability. This is only highlighted by the fact that Espanyol actually deserved their first-half lead. And that is against a side having Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi as it’s front three. The host took their lead through a David Lopez header.
Ernesto Valverde did rejuvenate his men in the second half while also adding dynamism of Artur Vidal to the side. And it paid dividends as Suarez’s and Vidal’s goals gave the lead to Barcelona. But as it looked like that La Liga champions were at last comfortable it all turned around.
Frenkie De Jong earned the first red card of his career when he fouled Jonathan Calleri in the 75th minute. The was shown a second yellow having already been booked for a challenge on Matias Vargas in the 66th minute. And it proved to be the turning point as Barcelona lost control of the match. They ended up conceding a late goal to substitute Wu Lie. Wu also became the first Chinese player to score against the La Liga giants.
Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona Manager
“We have to fight in every match. We started badly, we managed to come back but unfortunately, we went down to 10. They pressed and equalised.
”Frenkie’s dismissal did us a lot of damage. We were unable to score a third. This is football.
Abelardo Fernández, Espanyol Manager
“We competed as a team, as one and not eleven. I think the fans are proud and hopefully, this is the turning point necessary to reverse the situation ”
“We show that we can be a brave team and resemble what I want”