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La Liga: Barcelona 1 Espanyol 0

1 November 2013 22:51

Alexis Sanchez scored the only goal as Barcelona struggled to a 1-0 La Liga victory over city rivals Espanyol.

Despite dominating possession for large spells of the match, the leaders were frustrated by a well-organised visiting defence.

Alexis eventually broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when he tapped home from a pinpoint Neymar pass.

Barcelona have now won 21 league matches in a row on home soil and boast a four-point advantage over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid, who play on Sunday.

Gerard Pique returned from a hamstring injury but there was no place for Carles Puyol as Gerardo Martino made six changes from Tuesday’s 3-0 victory at Celta Vigo.

Espanyol made four alterations of their own, with Gabriel Torje among the players to come in.

After withstanding some early pressure from the hosts, Espanyol got a sight of goal in the sixth minute but Torje sent his eventual effort wide.

Alexis had an 18-yard strike punched away by Kiko Casilla at the other end as Barca went in search of a breakthrough.

With Martino’s men dominating possession, Dani Alves nodded the ball back for an advancing Alexis in the 28th minute, but the Chilean failed to get any purchase on a strike that was charged down in the penalty area.

The visitors could – and possibly should – have broken the deadlock against the run of play 10 minutes prior to the break. David Lopez was sent through one-on-one with Victor Valdes, only to be denied by the goalkeeper’s outstretched boot.

On the stroke of half-time, Alves exchanged passes brilliantly with Sergio Busquets just outside the penalty area before fizzing an 18-yard effort against the left-hand upright.

Barcelona continued to enjoy the lion’s share of the ball after the break, and Lionel Messi drew a superb diving save from Casilla in the 54th minute as he got his head to a looping Alves cross from the right.

With the hosts finding it difficult to break down a resolute Espanyol backline, Neymar created an angle for himself on the edge of the 18-yard box and curled a shot inches wide.

Barca finally broke the deadlock in the 68th minute as Neymar threaded a pass through the legs of two defenders to find a grateful Alexis, who was left with a simple tap-in at the far post.

Sergio Garcia forced Valdes into a save from close range with 10 minutes left as Espanyol chased an equaliser, before Messi curled a free-kick narrowly wide late on.

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Saturday 29 April

Friday 28 April

23:05
22:53
21:22
20:46
19:58
19:27
19:07
17:49
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10:33
10:01
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06:03
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00:27

Thursday 27 April

23:57
23:45
23:28
23:08
22:47
21:13
20:58
20:14
19:58
19:30
19:20
18:48
18:40
18:35
18:29
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17:41
17:13
16:50
16:22
16:11
15:58
15:33
15:11
14:40
14:33
14:24
13:54
13:53
13:17
12:51
12:41
12:31
11:49
10:15
10:11
09:49
09:06
06:45
06:22
04:16
02:55
02:53
01:31
00:42
00:38
00:29
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00:19
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00:08

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 34 +68 78
2 33 +52 78
3 34 +35 68
4 34 +20 68
5 35 +24 63
6 34 +10 59
7 34 +5 58
8 34 +7 51
9 34 +1 50
10 34 -8 45
11 33 -5 44
12 34 -10 40
13 34 -9 39
14 34 -9 39
15 34 -16 37
16 34 -20 31
17 34 -21 30
18 35 -32 24
19 34 -45 20
20 34 -47 18

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