May 21, 2018

How to Watch Espanyol vs. Barcelona

06 February 2018, 02:11 | Erma Lawrence

Betting Preview. Espanyol vs Barcelona. Fourth Catalan derby of season

Valverde cautious as Dembele resumes Barca training

Garcia's foul on Samuel Umtiti allowed Messi to cross for the Spain defender to head home and stretch Barcelona's unbeaten league record to 22 games this season.

The Catalan derby was played in pouring rain and Valverde slammed the "dangerous" pitch.

He then ran to the home supporters and raised his finger to his lip in a "shushing" motion.

Earlier when Barcelona faced Espanyol in the quarterfinals of Copa del Rey, Pique referred to Barcelona's neighbor as Espanyol de Cornella - a suburb of the Barcelona metropolitan area - rather than referring to them as Espanyol de Barcelona.

After Gerad Moreno opened the scoring for Espanyol with a 66th-minute strike, his side took top gear and dominated the proceedings and looked on the verge of creating an upset but Pique came to Barca's rescue.

Pique made it abundantly clear that players won't be silent in the face of such abuse.

When asked about Pique's performance and his controversial celebration, Valverde said: "It was a hard match for him because of the previous tension. I think it will be a calm day with a great atmosphere, where football can be enjoyed".

"Even though it was raining, we thought that the pitch would hold, but then we saw that the grass was not going to hold up and that the pitch was becoming risky", Valverde said.

"We fought well and had to change our way of playing because of the circumstances", he told reporters after the match.

"Even though it was raining, we thought that the pitch would hold, but then we saw that the grass was not going to hold up and that the pitch was becoming risky", the Barcelona coach said.

Some might say the backlash was also entirely justified, and a horrific late tackle on him from Gerard Moreno was seen by the Espanyol front man not as any sort of retribution, more of a player's code of 'what goes on, on the pitch, stays on the pitch.' As though that should somehow excuse it. Gestures are gestures, and there they are. Espanyol will be roared on by their own fans, but they know that the visitors are the favourites to win this game.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, perhaps mindful of his side's Cup semi-final return leg away to Valencia on Thursday night, left Leo Messi on the subs' bench along with Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba and gave a chance to Paco Alcacer and Nelson Semedo.

It was the fifth straight game without a loss for Leganes, which rested several regular starters ahead of its game at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semifinals on Wednesday.

He's had a lot of games in a row.

Espanyol lost experienced midfielder Javi Fuego to Villarreal in the closing days of the transfer window, but have had all week to prepare for the game, and striker Gerard Moreno commented that "they may be talking about other issues elsewhere, but we are concentrating on the game".

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