Barcelona vs. Espanyol – Football Match Report – December 31, 2022

Barcelona and Espanyol played out a fierce 1-1 draw in a Catalan derby in which both teams finished with 10 men.

Barca went ahead in the seventh minute through a Marcos Alonso header, before Espanyol pegged them back through a Joselu penalty in the 73rd minute.

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The game then descended into farce as referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz sent off Jordi Alba and the Espanyol pair of Vinicius Souza and Leandro Cabrera in quick succession amid a flurry of cards — before rescinding Cabrera’s red after a VAR review.

The build-up to the derby had been overshadowed by controversy after Robert Lewandowski had a three-match ban temporarily lifted for the clash at Camp Nou, a decision which Espanyol branded an “injustice.”

Barca took the lead when Alonso headed home after a corner was played across goal by Andreas Christensen following a knockdown from Lewandowski.

Espanyol were given a way back when Joselu went down under a challenge from Alonso in the 71st minute, and the striker duly stepped up to slot past Marc-Andre ter-Stegen from the penalty spot.

With the derby heating up, Alba saw red in the 78th minute after Lahoz showed him a second yellow card.

There were two more sendings-off in the 80th minute as Souza received a second yellow card while Cabrera was shown a straight red for an apparent kick at Lewandowski, before Cabrera’s red card was overturned.

Christensen and Lewandowski had two golden chances to win the game late on, but Alvaro Fernandez saved brilliantly from the centre-back’s header and foiled Lewandowski when the striker was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.