Spanish La Liga
Barcelona1Espanyol0

Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

Alexis Sanchez's second-half winner helped leaders Barcelona beat neighbours Espanyol and stretch their unbeaten La Liga start to a 12th game.

Barcelona dominated possession and territory against their city rivals, but did not make a breakthrough until Sanchez tapped in Neymar's low cross.

Dani Alves hit the Espanyol post, soon after he almost gifted Victor Sanchez a first-half goal for the visitors.

Barca are four points clear of Atletico Madrid, who host Bilbao on Sunday.

Under new boss Gerardo Martino, the Catalans have won 11 of their opening 12 matches, including last weekend's 2-1 home win over arch-rivals Real Madrid.

But the Spanish title holders were not at their most fluent against an Espanyol side that started the game in eighth place.

Despite their control, Barca rarely forced Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla into a first-half save and were fortunate not to fall behind after 38 minutes.

Brazil right-back Alves failed to deal with a hopeful through ball and it allowed Espanyol midfielder Sanchez to poke goalwards. But the ex-Barcelona player saw his effort blocked by home goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Alves almost made amends for his error in the final moments of the first half when his low shot, following a neat one-two with Sergio Busquets, struck the base of Casilla's right-hand post.

And Barcelona's dominance continued after the break. Espanyol goalkeeper Casilla kept his side level by diving low to his right to push out Lionel Messi's header, but he was powerless to stop Chile forward Sanchez netting the opener.

Barca's £50m summer signing Neymar drilled a low cross through a body of Espanyol defenders and an unmarked Sanchez, who also scored against Real Madrid on Saturday, was waiting at the far post to tap in.

Second-placed Atletico have won 10 of their opening 11 games, while third-placed Real Madrid, who visit Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, are a further five points behind.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1Valdés
  • 22Dani Alves
  • 2Montoya
  • 16Busquets
  • 3Piqué
  • 14MascheranoBooked at 77minsSubstituted forBartraat 89'minutes
  • 6Xavi
  • 8IniestaSubstituted forFábregasat 86'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9SánchezSubstituted forPedroat 83'minutes
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 4Fábregas
  • 7Pedro
  • 13Pinto Colorado
  • 15Bartra
  • 17Song
  • 20Tello
  • 24Sergi

Espanyol

  • 13Casilla
  • 3Rodríguez
  • 18Fuentes HernándezBooked at 45mins
  • 14López Silva
  • 6da Silva Junior
  • 15Moreno
  • 7Bifouma KoulossaSubstituted forCórdobaat 63'minutes
  • 4Sánchez MataBooked at 67mins
  • 9García de la Fuente
  • 23González CasanovaSubstituted forLanzaroteat 83'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 25Torje

Substitutes

  • 1Parreño Boix
  • 5Tejera
  • 11Capdevila
  • 12Lanzarote
  • 19Colotto
  • 22Fernández Iglesias
  • 24Córdoba
Referee:
Carlos Velasco Carballo
Attendance:
79,977

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamEspanyol
Possession
Home74%
Away26%
Shots
Home19
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home7
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 1, Espanyol 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 1, Espanyol 0.
Offside, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

Booking

Manuel Lanzarote (Espanyol) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Manuel Lanzarote (Espanyol).
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Raúl Rodríguez.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Francesc Fábregas.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Marc Bartra replaces Javier Mascherano.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Kiko Casilla.
Attempt saved. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Francesc Fábregas with a through ball.
Attempt missed. Dani Alves (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lionel Messi.
Offside, Espanyol. Jhon Córdoba tries a through ball, but Manuel Lanzarote is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Jhon Córdoba (Espanyol) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Torje.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas replaces Andrés Iniesta.
Attempt missed. Manuel Lanzarote (Espanyol) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Fuentes with a cross.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Héctor Moreno (Espanyol).

Substitution

Substitution, Espanyol. Manuel Lanzarote replaces Abraham.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Pedro replaces Alexis Sánchez.
Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol).
Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sergio García (Espanyol).
Attempt missed. Sergio García (Espanyol) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Kiko Casilla.

Booking

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).
Sergio García (Espanyol) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Barcelona. Martín Montoya tries a through ball, but Sergio Busquets is caught offside.
Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sergio García (Espanyol).
Corner, Espanyol. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.
Attempt blocked. David López (Espanyol) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Torje.
Foul by Dani Alves (Barcelona).
Gabriel Torje (Espanyol) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 1, Espanyol 0. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Neymar.

Booking

Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol).
Offside, Barcelona. Xavi tries a through ball, but Sergio Busquets is caught offside.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Fuentes.

Substitution

Substitution, Espanyol. Jhon Córdoba replaces Thievy.
Attempt missed. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Dani Alves with a cross.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Thievy (Espanyol) because of an injury.
Foul by Martín Montoya (Barcelona).
Thievy (Espanyol) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Thievy (Espanyol).
Attempt missed. Xavi (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross.
Attempt missed. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Neymar.
Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a headed pass.
Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Abraham (Espanyol).
Xavi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sergio García (Espanyol).
Attempt blocked. Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Second Half

Second Half begins Barcelona 0, Espanyol 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, Barcelona 0, Espanyol 0.

Booking

Fuentes (Espanyol) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
goal