Barcelona vs Espanyol : All goals and highlights
Barcelona ended a three-game series of ill-tempered derbies against Espanyol right on top by sealing their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate owing to a 2-0 win at Cornella-El Prat last night.
Fresh from picking up his incredible record fifth Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi was once again Barca’s chief figure yesterday as he brilliantly sought out Munir El Haddadi to open the scoring sheet before the youngster tapped home his well deserved second of the night later on in the game.
“Today everything was a lot calmer, partly because of the result,” remarked Barca boss Luis Enrique.
Suarez was banned for confronting the Espanyol players in the tunnel after last week’s heaed first-leg in which the visitors had two of their men sent-off.
Enrique also considerately handed Neymar, Pique, Sergio Busquets and also Andres Iniesta a well-earned rest, but Messi captained the squad just two days after regaining his 5th title of World Player of the Year amidst much cheer and support following the verdict. Francesco Bardi produced a truly brilliant save to prevent the Argentine superstar from opening the scoring with his outstanding legs with a fierce volley right on 11 minutes.
However, the Espanyol ‘keeper was left quite helpless when El Haddadi galloped swiftly onto Messi’s inch-perfect through ball to round Bardi before he confidently slotted it into an empty net. Alvaro Gonzalez unceremoniously chopped down Messi even as Felipe Caicedo charged into Marc-Andre ter Stegen with the passage of time even as the game threatened to boil over .
Yet, Ter Stegen would have his revenge as he stood up well to transform Caicedo’s chipped effort over mere moments later. With the tie clearly heading for in Barca’s favour, the second -half was largely a rather non-eventful one, but the European champions did manage to add a second two minutes from the time when Aleix Vidal squared for El Haddadi to tap it home.