Barcelona Begin Xavi Era with Narrow 1-0 Win Over Espanyol in Derby

Barcelona Begin Xavi Era with Narrow 1-0 Win Over Espanyol in Derby

  • Barca claimed a crucial 1-0 win over Espanyol in the La Liga in Xavi’s first game in charge
  • Memphis Depay’s penalty was enough to give the Catalans all three points, although they were lucky not to concede after a series of late Espanyol attacks
  • The win takes the Catalan giants to sixth on the log and focus will now shift to the Champions League

Barcelona recorded their first La Liga win in four matches as Xavi began his reign as coach of his beloved club with a 1-0 win over Espanyol in the derby.

Barcelona fc
Memphis Depay scored the only goal of the game as Barcelona beat Espanyol 1-0. Photo by Manuel Queimadelos
Source: Getty Images

A Memphis Depay penalty in the 48th minute was enough for Barca to see off their City rivals and climb to sixth on the log.

The game was not characterized by the vintage Xavi and Barcelona performance, but the Catalan giants will be glad to have ended their run of four games without a victory.

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In fact, Espanyol could have easily won the game if they were a bit more clinical in front of goal, as Barca, who adopted a 4-3-3 formation, looked shaky at times at the back.

Barcelona created an opening within 13 minutes after Jordi Alba put in a low cross which was met by 17-year-old debutant Ilias Akhomach but he could only blast his effort over the bar.

Possession mostly belonged to Barcelona as they tried to find a breakthrough in the first half,but efforts from Sergio Busquets, Depay and Gavi were either not well taken or brilliantly kept out by the Espanyol keeper.

The pressure would eventually count as Depay was brought down in the box by Leandro Cabrera and the Dutch international made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Barca were however unable to dominate in the manner they did in the first half despite taking the lead as Espanyol came with the heat as the game was meandering towards the closing stages.

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The away side’s best player of the night Raul de Tomas was particularly unlucky to see his free-kick clip the right-hand post before going behind, while his header also struck the same bar.

In the end, Barca held their own to claim all three points as Xavi, who played 767 games and won 25 titles with the club, opened his reign with a win.

Barca will now switch focus to a crucial Champions League tie against Benfica on Tuesday, November 23.

Aguero set to retire aged 33

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero is set to announce his retirement from football next week, according to stunning reports from Spain.

According to revered journalist Gerard Romero, the Alaves game might as well be the last for Aguero as a football player as further checks on his condition have prompted the decision to retire.