ESPANYOL 0-2 BARCELONA
Munir brace kills off Espanyol
Two goals from the young forward decided another robust match with Espanyol receiving four yellows to Barça’s three. Luis Enrique kept Piqué on the bench.
Munir was the author of both goals that killed off Espanyol in the third and final chapter of their derby meetings in a game that featured little in terms of entertaining football. The match ended 0-2 in Cornellà on a night which sees Barça through to the last eight of the competition with a resounding 6-1 aggregate score. The tie was in essence over from last week’s event packed 4-1 win at Camp Nou. There was more than local bragging rights at stake at the RCDE Stadium this evening with Espanyol anxious to regain credibility and pride.
The question ahead of tonight’s game was whether or not the protagonists of the evening would be able to play football and the answer was affirmative. The game started off with both sides making advances into the opposition half and after 30 minutes of action surprisingly only five fouls had been called in a period that showed both sides opting for fair-play. The same can’t be said for certain sections of the half empty ground in Cornellà where banner after banner aimed at Barça and in particular at Pique will undoubtedly cause a later investigation.
Both coaches took an opportunity to rotate their respective squads with Espanyol in particular aspiring to the model of a team that their Rumanian coach Galca is building to. With his side pushing high, it was the home team who had the better of the early phase of the game whilst Barça struggled to retain possession for prolonged periods of time.
Barça were initially uncomfortable but that they are the team that can call upon the player who has won five Ballon D’Or awards and can always provide magic. Messi came close and he provided the pass that allowed Munir to put any hint of a comeback from the home side out of the equation.
Any attempt from Espanyol to strike back was met by the safe hands of Ter Stegen who denied Caicedo in a one-on-one at the end of the first period. As the clock ticked down on a languid second half Munir,struck again with three minutes remaining to kill the game and close what has been a tiresome trilogy of games. Thanks God it’s over.