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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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Wednesday 1 April

Tuesday 31 March

23:56
23:50
23:42
23:41
23:23
23:17
22:53
22:40
22:39
22:27
22:23
21:28
21:00
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10:20
09:53
09:09
08:30
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03:35
01:39
00:58
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00:13

Monday 30 March

23:11
23:02
22:43
22:25
21:13
21:00
20:52
20:33
20:12
19:58
19:44
19:05
18:44
18:37
18:09
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17:35
17:27
17:00
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04:49
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Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 28 +63 68
2 28 +52 64
3 28 +30 60
4 28 +30 59
5 28 +18 55
6 28 +17 49
7 28 +0 44
8 28 -6 39
9 28 -4 36
10 28 -2 35
11 28 -17 35
12 28 -5 34
13 28 -15 29
14 28 -12 28
15 28 -29 27
16 28 -21 26
17 28 -19 25
18 28 -29 25
19 28 -25 23
20 28 -26 18

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