Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points

Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points

Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points

The former Liverpool star hit the bar in the first half before Gerard Moreno's header gave the hosts the lead midway through the second.

In torrid conditions, with the rain pouring down throughout the 90 minutes and puddles forming all over the pitch, Barcelona looked set to see their unbeaten league record taken by Espanyol, who had ended their 29-game unbeaten streak in all competitions last month.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde described the surface as "dangerous".

With clear-cut chances still in short supply at either end, Valverde opted to make a double change on the hour, with Messi and Sergi Roberto the men to come on.

La Liga leaders Barcelona face what could be a fiery encounter against aggrieved neighbours Espanyol this weekend, while second-placed Atletico Madrid face a tricky game against Valencia.

Espanyol had ended Barcelona's 29-match unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on January 17, when Messi missed a penalty kick.

After that match, Pique's tone when talking about Espanyol infuriated rival fans and prompted an official complaint by the club.

Barcelona came from behind to draw 1-1 with Espanyol in Sunday afternoon's Catalan derby at the RCDE Stadium. Moreno had to be contained as he tried to go after Pique.

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"It was one of the most exciting games", coach Quique Sanchez Flores said. "His gesture was what it was".

Both sides pushed for a victor in the closing stages as tempers began to fray but aside from Espanyol appealing for a late penalty, neither goal was seriously threatened.

"Leo has been playing a lot of matches in a row, we have to be careful", Valverde said.

However, Valverde, despite Espanyol being 14 places and 33 points adrift of Barcelona in La Liga, will be acutely aware that it was our rivals who inflicted a first defeat since the season started upon Barcelona in that Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.

Leganes and Getafe could not manage more than a 0-0 draw in the derby between rivals based just south of Madrid.

Baptistao had another opportunity in the 33rd minute when he rose highest inside the Barcelona box, but the Brazilian's bullet header missed the crossbar as the score remained goalless approaching the latter stages of the first period.

Getafe, 10th in the standings, is unbeaten in four matches.

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