Everyone expected Catalan derby to be a heated one after Espanyol loses 2-1 aggregate in Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Humiliation days were not long gone and they collided again in league game. Barcelona didn’t afford to lose the game to continue their unbeaten run in the league to equal Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona record, but the game was going into the different direction. It was Gerard Pique who saves the day for Barcelona late in the game to silence Espanyol’s home crowd and Barcelona walk away with a point in Catalan derby.
Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez was booed by Espanyol fans, when they walk out of the tunnel and Pique deserved so for his comment “Espanyol of Cornella” during Copa del Rey matches. Barcelona defender have always been in news off the pitch, but this time he made the news with his display on the pitch. Gerard Moreno has given the lead to Espanyol with his 66th minute strike and it looked like they’ll hand Barcelona their first defeat of the season, but Pique rescues a point for Camp Nou giants with his 82nd minute header.
Barcelona started the game with leaving Lionel Messi on the pitch. On such a rainy day, it’s a good decision to leave your best player on the bench to save him from any injury knowing the difficult games to be played in coming week, but it misfired as Barcelona goes blank in first-half.
— Sky Sports LaLiga (@SkyRevista) February 4, 2018
Coutinho was given the starting role along with Luis Suarez and Paco Alcacer in forward lineup, but it didn’t work out as planned. Barcelona didn’t find the target in first-half. Coutinho was impressive as he hit the woodwork in his style from outside the box and came close to give Barcelona lead. Luis Suarez also came close with his free-kick in the end of first-half, but his curling effort goes over the bar.
Messi came on the pitch in second-half. It was expected that Messi will turn around the match for Barcelona, but it was Espanyol who takes the lead within a minute Messi came on the pitch. Moreno handed Espanyol the lead and it brought urgency in Barcelona camp to score an equalizer.
After being booed for the entire match, Gerard Pique grabbed a crucial late equaliser in Barcelona’s derby with Espanyol to see the spoils shared.
No surprise what celebration he opted for… pic.twitter.com/SzKI7GkKU7
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) February 4, 2018
Messi did his best getting past Espanyol defenders and taking shots, but sloppy pitch didn’t help him in getting pace. Ball wasn’t moving fast and it was unplayable in the last 20 minutes. Thanks to Pique, Barcelona somehow manages to find the equalizer with a terrific header which saves the day for Barcelona. Pique enjoyed thoroughly the goal as he silenced Espanyol crowd in celebration and a minute later Moreno challenged him in winning a ball.
Espanyol crowd loved Moreno’s reaction, but it turned into a heated argument. Both side players collided to each-other, and Moreno was particularly more furious afterwards. Samuel Umtiti was handed a one match ban after picking his fifth yellow of the season as he looked furious after the game as well. Pique played the cold figure role in the end becoming hero for Barcelona, leaving what happened on the pitch on the pitch.