Every party, especially if it is at the end of the year, needs someone to cheer it up. There are certain nights that, like the derby between Barça and Espanyol, promise a lot but do not live up to expectations and they are falling into boredom until the least expected guest encourages her. That surprise guest who decided to animate the cotillion was Mateu Lahozthat fearing that culés and parrots were going to go to sleep before the grapes, decided to take command of the operations and There is no doubt that the Valencian, in the purest style of his countryman Chimo Bayo, is a track filler capable of livening up the most tedious meeting and turning it into a memorable party.
After 70 minutes of yawning, the game ended in a frenzy. It went from a family dinner to an after party where no one wanted to leave and everyone wanted more. A tie to one that allows Barcelona to continue leading, but already tied on points with Madrid, while Espanyol took a point that tastes like glory. Mateu put on a show, but Barça’s ills go beyond the referee’s disconcerting performance.
The derby had heated up in the previous one thanks to the Lewandowski case, which he was able to play thanks to the last minute decision of a Madrid court, but all the turmoil caused by the inclusion of the Pole dissolved as soon as the ball was put into play.
Neither Espanyol took out from the outset that anger expressed through statements and statements on social networks nor did Barça translate their lineup into goals. With equal apathy, the Blaugrana team showed that it is far superior to its city rival. In second gear and the blaugrana team became the owner of the game against a Espanyol that relied everything on Joselu, lost in attack, hunting a ball while Xavi’s team was accumulating occasions that did not materialize.
The first goal came early. In the seventh minute, Espanyol gave a practical course on how not to defend a corner kick. The chaos of the parakeet defense was such that the Barcelona players touched the ball up to three times with their head inside the Spanish small area against a defense that was catching flies. Lewandowski failed alone against Álvaro in the first instance, Christensen activated the header again and Marcos Alonso, completely alone, ended before a desperate exit from the blue and white goalkeeper.
That goal opened the doors for Barça, who already had their foot on the neck of a horrible Espanyol in defense and non-existent in attack, closed the duel on the fast track, but the game languished between the shows of Mateu, who was beginning to give a preview of his final apotheosis determined to congratulate the year to anyone who came within his reach.
At Barca, a thick Pedri, a Raphinha who tried many things and finished nothing and an Ansu clearly surpassed by Óscar Gil, who together with Melamed were the only ones who kept the Spanish ship afloat, left a lost rival alive.
The Spanish ship threatened to sink, but it reached the middle part saving the situation. “We are in,” Diego Martínez shouted to his team from the band after half an hour of play. He was right. The game was ready for Barça to have liquidated it with a stroke of the pen, but it left alive a rival who had the best news of midday in their minimal defeat on the scoreboard.
It remained to be seen if Espanyol took advantage of their rival’s gift in the second half. To do so, many things had to change.
Six minutes after the restart, Busquets came on for Gavi, who had some discomfort, while Exposito and Puado came on for Calero and Melamed on the visiting side. Braithwaite, who had not hit the ball so far, was still on the pitch. Yes, they had touched him, but very badly, Ansu and Raphinha, who already exhausted Xavi’s patience at game time. Another wasted opportunity for both of them.
None of the changes altered the rhythm of a game that Barça took him to the danger zone for being a fool. Everything depended on an accident and this happened in the 70th minute when Marcos, until then the best of Barça, committed the melonada of stepping on Joselu. Penalty at the height of the game that Joselu converted against a Ter Stegen dancing uselessly on the line.
There were 20 minutes left in the derby and Mateu reigned there, becoming the owner of the track. Three minutes later, Barça was left with ten for the second yellow to Alba. But don’t leave yet, there’s still more. A minute later, in a word Jesus, Espanyol was going to be left with nine for a double yellow to Vini and a direct red to Cabrera. But after reviewing the play in VAR, he retracted and took the red card from the Uruguayan. The show was already absolute.
Barça woke up late and wanted to do everything they didn’t want at the start in ten minutes. Espanyol resisted with a very successful Álvaro and Mateu closed the year as he likes, being the center of attention in the face of the despair and bewilderment of both teams. But beyond their show, Barça let slip a game they had in hand and Espanyol took advantage of it to give the bell.
S. Busquets (51′, Gavi), J. Puado (56′, Nico Melamed), Edu Exposito (56′, F. Calero), ferran torres (61′, Ansu Fati), O. Dembele (61′, Raphinha), Alex Balde (81′, Sergi Roberto), J. Koundé (81′, F. De Jong), Simo (85′, M. Braithwaite), Alex Vidal (89′, Brian Olivan), ruben sanchez (89′, Oscar Gil)
1-0, 6′: Mark Alonso1-1, 72′: Joselu
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
VAR referee: Santiago Jaime Latre, Íñigo Prieto López de Ceraín
Ansu Fati (24′,Yellow) Gavi (29′,Yellow) Brian (29′,Yellow) cabrera (30′,Yellow) calero (54′,Yellow) Vinicius (73′,Yellow) Edu Exposito (73′,Yellow) Sunrise (73′,Yellow) Ferran Torres (74′,Yellow) Pedro (75′,Yellow) Sunrise (77′,Red) Vinicius (79′,Red) raphinha (94′,Yellow) Javi Puado (95′,Yellow) Arnau Tenas (96′,Yellow)
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Espanyol bell at Mateu’s party