A second half hat-trick from Thievy Bifouma won the 22nd Copa Catalunya for Espanyol
Playing back-to-back matches straight after returning from the American tour was just too much for the Barça youngsters
1-0, Thievy (min 50)
2-0, Thievy (min 54)
3-0, Thievy (min 76)
The blue and whites started the game with four first team regulars on the field while Barça's line-up entirely featured reserves, but the first half was still a tightly matched affair with flashes of brilliance from both sides. But Espanyol ended up retaining the title with a 3-0 win, and the star of the show was hat-trick hero Thievy. The result means Espanyol and Barça have now won this title six times each.
Of the 22 players that Pochettino and Eusebio started with, three for Espanyol and six from Barça played in the final of last season's youth version of the Copa del Rey, which Barça won 2-0. So, there was plenty of competitiveness between these two city rivals. Both sides were giving nothing away and the football was intense from start to finish. Thievy and Cristian Alfonso were both outstanding for Espanyol, while Deulofeu also shone in the Barcelona attack, but all three struggled to finish off moves. There was not one shot on target in the first half and the scoreless draw was a fair reflection of the way the play had gone.
Everything changed after the break. A lightning quick Espanyol move ended with Thievy deftly flicking the ball past Oier. Barça had barely been able to react before the Frenchman of Cameroonian origin had made it 2-0 by running rings around Armando with a terrific solo run. The Espanyol fans were already celebrating the win, and Barça struggled to find a response, and Thievy eventually made it three and made certain of the win with a quarter of an hour to go. For Barcelona it had been an extremely tough night. For nine of the players, playing two competitive games in two days after coming back from a gruelling American tour was simply too much, and the lack of freshness showed.