Nov 1, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Barcelona
1-0
Espanyol
Sanchez (68')
Mascherano (77')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Rafael Fuentes (45'), Sanchez (67'), Lanzarote (90')

Live Commentary: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol - as it happened

Live Commentary: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol - as it happened
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at Camp Nou where Barcelona beat Espanyol 1-0.

Barcelona welcomed Espanyol to the Camp Nou on Friday looking to make it 11 wins from their 12 La Liga matches this season.

The home side dominated the possession in the first period, but could not make the breakthrough with the scores level at the interval.

Barca finally opened the scoring after 68 minutes courtesy of Alexis Sanchez, with that strike handing them all three points.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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7.31pmEvening all! Week 12 in La Liga opens in the Camp Nou as Barcelona welcome Espanyol in the local derby. It has been some start to the season for Barcelona, with 10 wins and one draw from their 11 matches leaving them top of the table. Espanyol, meanwhile, currently sit eighth having collected 15 points from their 11 matches thus far.

7.34pmTEAMS:

BARCELONA: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Montoya; Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets; Sanchez, Messi, Neymar

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Rodriguez, Sidnei, Moreno, Fuentes; Torje, Sanchez, Abraham, Lopez; Garcia, Bifouma


7.37pmSo there we have it. No Adriano for Barcelona this evening, therefore Martin Montoya switches to left-back. Alexis Sanchez and Neymar start alongside Lionel Messi in attack, but Cesc Fabregas and Pedro are named on the bench. There is no place in the 18 for Carlos Puyol. Meanwhile, Espanyol pair Thievy Bifouma and Sergio Garcia in attack, while there is also a spot for Gabriel Torje.

7.40pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Espanyol will not have many fond memories. Barcelona have won four of the last five matches, with the other ending in a draw. The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 4-0 home win. Barcelona were also 2-0 winners when they made the short trip to Espanyol in May.

7.43pmWhat’s more, Espanyol have scored just once in their last five games with Barcelona, while the Catalan outfit have hit the back of the net 13 times. Goals have been a problem for Espanyol this season with just 12 in their 11 matches. More recently, they have managed just two in their last five games, which is certainly a concern.

7.46pmBarcelona, unsurprisingly, currently top the goals scored list with 33 strikes. Their top scorer is Lionel Messi on eight, but the Argentine is yet to really hit top form following a thigh injury in the early part of the season. They have won three of their last five games in all competitions, including a 2-1 win in this stadium against Real Madrid last weekend.

7.49pmDefensively Barcelona have not been too impressive this season, but they have conceded just seven times in the league thus far, keeping six clean sheets in the process. Espanyol, meanwhile, have conceded 14 times and managed four clean sheets. Barca have also won all five of their league games in the Camp Nou this season.

7.52pmAs mentioned, Espanyol made a bright start to the season. However, the wheels have started to come off in recent weeks. They have a strong home record this season with three wins and just one defeat on their own patch, but it has been a struggle on the road with one win, one draw and three defeats.

7.55pmHowever, this time last season they were struggling at the bottom of the table. Javier Aguirre has performed miracles since taking charge, but he needs some help from his players. Espanyol are eighth, but are just six points off the bottom three, which is an indication of the closeness in the bottom half of the table.

7.58pmPREDICTION: The Barcelona derby has been played 159 times, with 89 wins for Barcelona. In truth, it would be a big surprise if the home side did not make it 90 wins this evening. Espanyol have freshened up their attack for this match, but I am not convinced that they have enough to really worry Barcelona. I am backing a comfortable 3-0 home win.

1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening as week 12 in La Liga gets underway. The away side kick us off in the Camp Nou.

2 minBright start from the away side as David Lopez collects possession down the left before winning a throw, but Pique is on hand to clear the danger under pressure from Garcia. Barcelona gather possession moments later with Xavi and Andres Iniesta exchanging passes in midfield. It is imperative that Espanyol start well this evening.

4 minEarly sign of Bifouma for the away side as his pace causes Pique some problems, but the Frenchman just cannot create a yard for the strike outside the box. Garcia threatens to run behind the Barca back four moments later, but he handles outside the box. Not too much from the home side in the opening four minutes of football in the Camp Nou.

7 minIs there for a crisis for Messi? The Argentine has not scored in his last three games for Barcelona, which is quite incredible. Crisis though? I am not too sure about that. The home side have just started to take control of the possession with Alexis Sanchez and Neymar both delivering a couple of crosses into the box, but neither really threatens Casilla, who later watches Alves hit one over the crossbar.

9 minHalf-chance for Torje this time as the Espanyol midfielder collects possession outside the box before attempting to find the top corner, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Half-chance down the other end moments later, but Sanchez's curling effort is pushed away by Casilla. Opportunities at both ends in an entertaining opening nine minutes of football in the Camp Nou.

11 minHalf-chance for Espanyol to threaten on the counter as Victor Sanchez picks the pocket of Iniesta outside the box, but he cannot release Bifouma under pressure from Mascherano. Barcelona continue to pass and probe outside the away side's box, but the likes of Neymar and Sanchez have been unable to find that vital pass thus far. Still goalless with 11 minutes on the clock.

13 minIt isn't quite happening for the home side at the moment as another attack breaks down in the final third. Espanyol have the chance to break down the other end, but there are not enough numbers in the Barcelona half. Neymar threatens behind the Espanyol defence moments later, but the offside flag is raised. Still no real chances for either side thus far.

16 minSeems to be a problem for Garcia here as the Espanyol skipper hits the deck following a challenge with Pique, but he does return to his feet following a period on the ground. The resulting free kick is met by Abraham inside the box, but a free kick is awarded for the home side moments later. Stop-start period of the match in the last couple of moments.

17 minCHANCE! Wonderful combination between Neymar and Messi inside the Espanyol box, but the latter's effort is blocked by Moreno at the final moment. Montoya collects possession outside the box, but his effort is also blocked. Moments later the ball is in the back of the net, but Alves is ruled offside.

19 minThe referee has been more involved than he would like in the last couple of moments as the challenges continue to arrive from both sides. However, the official has not seen fit to issue a yellow card despite Torje flying into a challenge with Pique. In truth, not too much is happening at the moment as Barcelona continue to lose possession at the final moment in the latter third of the pitch.

22 minIt is almost like a pre-season match at the moment as Barcelona continue to keep possession, but without really threatening to open the scoring. We have seen little from the likes of Sanchez and Neymar in the opening 22 minutes. Espanyol have had their moments on the counter, but have been unable to threaten Valdes in the home side's goal.

24 minIt's good work from Messi as the Argentine finds space in a crowded box before setting up Alves for the cross, but his delivery is poor and out for a goal kick. Alves is down the right moments later, but it breaks down inside the box. Comfortable for Espanyol at the moment there is no doubt about that.

26 minNeymar continues to impress for Barcelona as he turns on the edge of the box before finding Iniesta, but the Spaniard cannot find the run of Messi. Alves has possession down the right moments later, but once more, his delivery is short of the required standard. Casilla has not been tested in the Espanyol goal thus far.

28 minEspanyol continue to threaten on the break, but the quality of the final ball has not been there thus far. Bifouma looks the main option as he continues to test Montoya, but he has had no support thus far. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining in the Camp Nou.

31 minCHANCE! Barcelona's second clear opportunity of the half falls to Sanchez as Alves finds the Chilean inside the box, but his effort is blocked by Moreno. Espanyol have certainly been impressive defensively this evening, but Barcelona have not asked too many questions. Almost silent inside the Camp Nou.

33 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Garcia finds Torje, who creates a yard of space before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Valdes is across to make the save. Barcelona are down the other end moments later, but Neymar is crowded out by three defenders at the final moment.

36 minThe referee has kept his cards in his pocket in the first period despite a number of late challenges from Espanyol. Moreno is the latest to foul Xavi, but Carlos Velasco hands the Mexican another warning. Barcelona continue to probe down each wing, but Sanchez and Neymar are struggling to find space at the moment. Javier Aguirre will be pleased with what he has seen here.

37 minChance for Barcelona to threaten from a free kick as Sanchez fells Messi outside the box. The resulting set piece is taken by Messi, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. The wait goes on for the Argentine as he attempts to get among the goals once more.

39 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Espanyol to take the lead as Garcia beats Alves to the ball inside the box before poking his effort towards the bottom corner, but Valdes is across to make a quite stunning save. The resulting free kick is delivered by Sanchez, but Pique is across to clear the danger.

42 minThe final ball just has to be better for Barcelona as Alves delivers another cross straight into the arms of Casilla. Espanyol continue to sit deep and absorb the danger, but they have struggled on the break thus far. Both managers are on the touchline as we approach the latter stages of the first period.

44 minShooting chance for Xavi as Neymar finds the midfielder on the edge of the box, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Barcelona have had 73% of the possession, but they have not really tested Casilla thus far as another attack breaks down with Iniesta. Not much more football to play in the first period this evening.

45 minPOST! Barcelona come close to taking the lead at the end of the first period as Alves combines with Busquets before attempting to find the bottom corner, but his effort smashes off the foot of the post. Moments before, Iniesta had been denied by Casilla. Much better from the home side.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Barcelona 0-0 Espanyol

8.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. In truth, not too much happened in the opening 42 minutes, but Barcelona did up the tempo in the latter stages of the half. Javier Aguirre will be delighted with what he has seen thus far.

8.52pmSTATISTICS: Barcelona had an incredible 79% of the possession in the first period, but they managed just two attempts, which both came in the latter stages of the half. Espanyol have had just the one opportunity, but it was a golden one for Garcia, who turned wide after hassling Alves.

8.57pmBENCH WATCH: It will come as no surprise that Barcelona have a number of attacking talents on their bench this evening. Pedro would be the obvious introduction, while Cesc Fabregas and Cristian Tello will also be hoping for a chance. Espanyol, meanwhile, also have options in the shape of Cordoba and Lanzarote.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that Espanyol need to ride out the next 10 or 15 minutes if they are to take something from the match. It would be the most unlikeliest of results. Right, the home side get the second period underway in the Camp Nou. Let's hope for goals.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise, but I suspect that will change if the score remains the same around the hour mark. As expected, the home side have taken control of the possession in the opening stages of the second period. Their final ball simply has to be better this half.

50 minHalf-chance for Barcelona as Neymar and Sanchez both rise inside the Espanyol box as Alves delivers a dangerous cross, but Sidnei is on hand to head clear. Iniesta picks up the pieces moments later, but his effort is straight at Moreno from close range. The tempo is just starting to rise, which is getting the home supporters on side.

53 minThe pressure continues to rise as Neymar collects a pass from Busquets before delivering a cross towards Sanchez, but the Chilean cannot make proper contact. Xavi has possession of the ball outside the box moments later, but he asks too much of Montoya down the left. Still not too much happening for Espanyol in the final third, with Bifouma struggling to keep possession.

55 minAlves is having a horror at the moment as he continues to deliver poor balls into the box. I have never seen Barcelona get the ball wide and deliver as much as they have this evening. They hardly have the players for it. Still no movement on either bench, but I suspect Martino will be thinking about a change. Still goalless with 55 minutes on the clock in the Camp Nou.

57 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Barcelona to take the lead as Alves's cross this time finds the head of Messi, but his header is pushed wide by Casilla. Iniesta strikes one from outside the box moments later, but it is just wide of the post. Much better from the home side. However, the crowd remain almost silent inside the stadium.

59 minAnother half-chance for Barcelona, once more from a header, as Xavi meets a cross from Sanchez, but his effort is straight into the arms of Casilla. Espanyol break down the other end with Rodriguez moments later, but the move breaks down in the final third. Espanyol have been incredibly poor on the ball this evening.

62 minHandbags between both sets of players as Bifouma catches Montoya, but the referee does not take further action, which angers the home supporters and players alike. In truth, there was not a lot in it. It has been a poor night for Barcelona thus far, but there is still time for that to change. Still no movement on the bench with 62 minutes on the clock. I expect Pedro will soon join us.

64 minCHANCE! It's wonderful work from Neymar as the Brazilian cuts inside before curling a stunning effort towards the top corner, but it just moves wide of the post. That is the closest either side have come in the second period. Espanyol make the first change of the match moments later as Cordoba replaces Bifouma.

66 minBarcelona attempt to pass their way into the Espanyol box as Messi combines with Sanchez, but once more Moreno is across to make a fine challenge. Busquets finds himself inside the box moments later, but the flag is raised. Still goalless with little under 25 minutes of football remaining in the Camp Nou.

68 minVictor Sanchez enters the referee's book moments later for a poor challenge on Iniesta inside his own half. The resulting free kick is worked short before Pique hits it long, but Moreno is across to make the clearance. Still no movement on the Barcelona bench, which is a big surprise at this stage of proceedings.

68 minGOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (Sanchez)

69 minBarcelona finally take the lead with 69 minutes on the clock as Neymar's cross is turned into the back of the net by Sanchez. It is cruel on Espanyol, who have not really been troubled in the second period. Can the away side respond?

72 minThe home side attack down the right once more as Messi finds Alves, but his cross is into the stands. Seven goals for the season for Sanchez, who is enjoying a fine run in front of goal. Espanyol attempt to break down the other end moments later, but Garcia cannot keep hold of the ball.

74 minHalf-chance for the away side as Garcia collects possession inside the Barcelona box before finding Torje, but his effort is blocked by Pique. Fuentes picks up the pieces moments later, but his cross is headed clear once more. It would not be a surprise if there was another goal in this match.

76 minJust the one change made by Espanyol in the second period with Cordoba replacing Bifouma, but he also has the likes of Lanzarote and Alex in reserve this evening. The away side have been impressive in defence, but have offered little in the final third. That has to change if they are to take something from this match.

79 minControversial moment here as Casilla comes out to clear a through pass from Neymar, only to leave it for Moreno. Neymar goes down under a challenge from the goalkeeper, but the referee is not interested. Replays have shown that the Brazilian tried to make the most of the contact. Neymar is involved down the right moments later, but his cross is cleared by Sidnei.

81 minEspanyol are heading for a fifth consecutive loss in this stadium unless they can turn it around in the final 10 minutes. Garcia attempts to open his side's tally for the evening as he collects a pass from Lopez before attempting to find the top corner, but Valdes is on hand to make the save. It appears that Pedro will soon join us for the home side.

83 minIt's bright work from Messi as the Argentine drives past two defenders on the edge of the box, before being chopped down by Sanchez. The resulting free kick is taken by Messi, but his powerful effort is just wide of the post. That would have taken the back of the net off had it flown past Casilla.

85 minBarcelona do indeed make a change as Pedro replaces Sanchez for the final five minutes or so. Espanyol also make a change as Lanzarote replaces Abraham. Slightly attacking change, but the away side have not really worried Barca since falling behind. It appears that this one is heading for a routine 1-0 home win.

88 minHalf-chance for Lanzarote as the Espanyol midfielder is found by Torje inside the box, but his header is high and wide of the target. Barcelona make their second change of the match moments later as Fabregas replaces Iniesta for the final couple of minutes.

90 minBetter intensity from Espanyol in the last couple of moments as they start to force players forward, but the latest attack breaks down when Garcia delivers into the arms of Valdes. Alves has a chance on the counter moments later, but his long-range effort is wide of the post, before Messi is denied on the edge of the box by Rodriguez.

90+1 minCHANCE! Pedro comes close to scoring Barcelona's second as he evades the Espanyol defence before advancing on goal, but his effort is saved by Casilla. Moments later, the home side make their third and final change as Marc Bartra replaces Mascherano.

90+3 minWe are into the third of three additional minutes as indicated by the fourth official. It appears that Barcelona are heading for their 11th league win of the season. Just the one win in seven for Espanyol, however, as their struggles continue.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

9.50pmSo there we have it. Far from pretty, but Barcelona do pick up all three points with a 1-0 win. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us throughout the weekend for a number of live commentaries from across Europe. Good evening!

Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla of RCD Espanyol goes for a high ball during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Real Betis Balompie at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on September 1, 2013
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