Barcelona ease past Espanyol to clinch La Liga title

La Liga

Espanyol 2-4 FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona have been crowned champions of Spain for the 27th time after a 4-2 win away to local rivals Espanyol. The Blaugrana are an unassailable 14 points ahead of Real Madrid with four games remaining in La Liga Santander.

As if a Derbi Barceloni needs any extra motivation, both Espanyol and Barcelona had plenty to play for on Sunday night in Cornella. The home side desperately need points in their battle against the drop, while the visitors knew a victory would clinch the league title.

It was a dream start for Barcelona and a nightmare one for their hosts and rivals. Within 20 minutes, Alejandro Balde had set up Robert Lewandowski and scored one of his own to make it 2-0 with his first goal for the club.

The young left back was keen to get on the ball throughout and he did well to hit the byline and dink a low cross over to the Polish striker to turn home after just 11 minutes. Shortly afterwards, he did well to get the better of his man at the back post and guide in Pedri’s cross on the volley.

Lewandowski opens the scoring.

The truth is that Barca strolled through the first half and they were 3-0 up at the break after Sergio Busquets, playing in his last Barcelona derby, won the ball comfortably in midfield. The Catalan midfielder helped it on to Frenkie De Jong who fed Raphinha who in turn squared for Lewandowski to put it away on the stretch.

The home side didn’t even make it 10 minutes into the second half before conceding again as Barcelona got well into party mood. Frenkie De Jong was allowed time to pause and pick out a perfectly weighted ball in behind towards Jules Kounde who headed in.

It is an indication of Barcelona’s dominance that both full backs scored by getting on the end of crosses inside the box. Espanyol had no answer and no way to stop their opponents toying with them.

For the remainder of the game – if it wasn’t already the case at half time – was simply about pride for Los Pericos. A consolation goal began to look more likely and it finally came in the 73rd minute thanks to a wonderful chipped finish from the lively substitute Javi Puado.

A couple of minutes later, Joselu went to close to getting a second as the game began to open up. The Spain international had another shot on target soon after but failed to really test Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Jules Kounde celebrates scoring Barca’s fourth goal.

By this stage, Barcelona had decidedly taken their foot off the gas and Espanyol looked in earnest to at least cut the deficit. After a brief flurry of attacking intent, however, Barcelona managed put their foot on the gas again and saw out the final stages comfortably, despite a Joselu tap in making it 4-2 with the final touch of the game.

This was Barcelona’s night, though, and the victory was never really in any doubt. The three points put them beyond reach and confirms Xavi’s first La Liga Santander title as a manager with Barcelona’s first league title since 2019.

For Espanyol, meanwhile, the outlook is rather bleaker, sitting second bottom, three points adrift of Getafe and four of Valladolid and Cadiz. With four games left to determine their destiny, their next game is a trip to Rayo Vallecano before they welcome Atletico Madrid at RCDE Stadium.

In what is certain to be a tense and dramatic end to the season, Espanyol’s final two games will see them play fellow strugglers Valencia and Almeria, potentially with everything on the line. A massive three weeks are coming up for Los Pericos.

After the final whistle, as Barcelona players and staff celebrated their title triumph on the pitch, a swarm of Espanyol hooligans stormed the pitch and sought to attack the Blaugrana players. Xavi’s men fled the field, as hooded thugs launched missiles at police and destroyed TV equipment.

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