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Marcador del partit

  • Date: Saturday, 13 Jan
  • Competition: ???label.competicio0???
  • Stadium: Olímpico Lluís Companys, Barcelona


  • RCD Espanyol: 3
  • FC Barcelona: 1

Match report

Match Report

The goals

1-0, Luis Garcia (min. 30)
1-1, Saviola (min. 60)
2-1, Tamudo (min. 65)
3-1, Rufete (min. 91)

Good run at Montjuïc brought to an end (3-1)

FC Barcelona were beaten 3-1 in the derby encounter by Espanyol and brought an end to their good run of results in the Estadi Olimpic. Luis García, Raúl Tamudo and Rufete scored for the hosts, while Javier Saviola netted for the Blaugrana.

Having won their on their last four visits to Montjuïc, Barça were confident but the strength of the hosts on the counter-attack ensured that they secured all three points and left Frank Rijkaard's team to reflect on what might have been. When Saviola reduced the arrears in the second half there was a glimmer of hope, but Espanyol's third goal ended any chance of a comeback. This was only the second time this season that FC Barcelona have tasted defeat.

Finding a rhythm

The game began at an intense pace and the atmosphere in the ground was electric. Espanyol knew that if they allowed Barça to play their passing game then they would be made to suffer, so they ensured that the midfield was packed and that pressure was applied every time an opponent was in possession. Ronaldinho appeared to be the main route forward for the visitors, but he was unable to create much space and the shots that he did manage to fire off rarely troubled Carlos Kameni in the home goal. In the tenth minute the Brazilian did go very close to opening the scoring, however, when his free-kick cannoned back off the bar.

Caught out

Andrés Iniesta and Eidur Gudjohnsen were lively and with Ronaldinho breaking down the left it looked set to be only a matter of time before they broke through the Espanyol rearguard. But just when the Blaugrana were settling into their rhythm they were hit at the back. There had been a warning shot early on when Iván De la Peña had picked out Rufete, who saw a shot touched wide by Víctor Valdés, but Barça did not heed the warning. On the half-hour mark Tamudo moved down the left and his low centre was met by Luis García who steered the ball into the far corner of the net.

The hosts were taking the upper hand as FC Barcelona looked to cope with having gone behind in such unexpected fashion. Ernesto Valverde's side looked teh more dangerous before the break, but the visitors began to pull themselves back into the match. Gudjohnsen saw a header saved by the keeper's legs before Ronaldinho sent a free-kick straight at the keeper.

Level, then behind

With Espanyol leading, they looked content to slow down the game and Barça looked like they were going to have work hard to draw themselves back into the encounter. But they did just that when substitute Javier Saviola picked up the ball on the edge of the area and rifled a shot past Kameni to equalise on the hour mark. Thiago Motta then replaced Gudjohnsen as Rijkaard looked to strengthen his midfield, but within five minutes Espanyol had regained the lead. Sergio Sánchez sent a cross over from the right and Tamudo was left unmarked to head home from close range and Barça had it all to do once again.

Final chance

The game opened up completely as FC Barcelona pushed forward and Espanyol kept players up to exploit the gaps. There were numerous chances as Walter Pandiani first sent a downward header onto the underside of the bar, Ronaldinho sent a fizzing shot just wide of the far post at the other end. In the closing minutes Iniesta was forced to go off after being caught by Pandiani. Despite his absence, Barça pressed on but were once again caught out at the back as Luis García raced down the left in injury time and rolled the ball to the far post where Rufete connected to put the result beyond doubt with Espanyol's third of the night.


Veteran official

Tonight's game will be reffed by Arturo Daudén Ibánez, one of the league's longest serving officials after whistling no fewer than 218 games. Barcelona have been involved in 23 of these, winning 13 times, drawing eight and losing just two.

Fourth derby of the season

Espanyol entertain Barcelona tonight in the fourth meeting between the sides of the season. After meeting twice in the Spanish Super Cup and once in the Copa Catalunya, we now come to their first league meeting.

Eighteen matches into the league season and Barça go to Espanyol (22:00, TV3/La Sexta), but the teams have already crossed paths several times this season in other competitions. Barça beat Espanyol 4-0 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup, but Espanyol came out tops in the final of the Copa Catalunya. There are no trophies on offer tonight, but three very important points, and a derby, at the end of the day, is always a derby.

Ronaldinho returns: The biggest change to the Barcelona line-up is of course the return of Ronaldinho for his first game of 2007 after missing the Getafe match through suspension and being rested by Rijkaard for the Cup match against Alavés. That means the Brazilian has not appeared for Barça for three weeks. Also back in the squad is Oleguer Presas, who has been given the medical all-clear.

But Deco will not be back. The midfielder has been left out of the side with ongoing muscular problems. Neither has Zambrotta been given the go ahead to play by the club's medical staff, so, other than the reinclusion of Ronaldinho, the side that plays tonight is likely to be very similar to the one that appeared against Getafe.

Tamudo in doubt: Ernesto Valverde's biggest concern is whether or not his captain, goalscorer and team leader Raúl Tamudo will be able to play. The striker has been suffering from the flu, and may not be well enough to play. He, along with De la Peña and Luis Garcia are the core of Espanyol's attack, and if he is missing, that will probably mean a chance up front for Walter Pandiani.

The other major worry in the Espanyol camp is right back Pablo Zabaleta. The Argentinian has usually been responsible for marking Ronaldinho in recent derbies, and that task will probably fall into the hands of youngster Javi Chica tonight.

Barça on winning streak: Barça have won on the four last trips up the hill to Montjuic. The last time they lost there was a 2-0 defeat in 2001-02. In 2002-03 Barça began a winning streak with a clear 2-0 victory at the Olympic Stadium, with the last three derbies also ending in Barça wins by 3-1, 1-0 and 2-1.  

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