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Gol d'Alexis contra l'Espanyol. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

The Champions just keep on winning! Barça reached 97 points tonight after a clear 0-2 win over city neighbours Espanyol and with one game to go that 100-point margin is still in sight. Three was  plenty of off field interest before the game with all the talk surrounding Neymar’s signing and the controversy over the Barça shirt on the Christopher Columbus statue, but there was no discussion about who was boss once the game kicked off, as Barça put in a spectacular and competitive performance against an Espanyol team who finally said goodbye to their European chances. Barça scored two, but it could easily have been more.

Magic from Alexis

Espanyol were as combative as they ever are in a Barcelona derby and that obliged Barça to stamp their authority from the off –dominating and gradually overcoming the first line of pressure applied by the Espanyol midfield. Before the quarter hour was up, Alexis opened the scoring – scoring a lovely goal after a one-two with Villa.

Whole team charged up

The whole team was charged up for the game and chased down the Espanyol players al over the pitch. There weren’t too many other chances in the first half hour, but a Song cross from the left set up Cesc, who hit the post. The game was full of pace and a bit of niggle typical of a derby game. Song was holding the middle of the park, Iniesta was pulling the strings and Thiago was  adding the magic and before the half ended, Iniesta shaved the woodwork with a long range effort. It was an impressive first 45 minutes from the Champions.

Game opens up

Barça took over where they left off after the break, strangling any Espanyol reaction by keeping possession. Villa nearly got the second when he rounded off a a great team move, only to just hit wide. Espanyol tried to open up the game, but that just left more spaces. Valdes was given a little work now and at the other end, Cristian Álvarez made  a great stop from Villa on 69 minutes.

Incident packed finale

With the Barça defence never really looking too troubled, 0-2 always looked closer than 1-1 and when with ten minutes to go, Piqué made a great last gasp stop and  Wakaso was soon after shown  a red, the game turned and  late on, Pedro doubled the team’s lead after a move with Xavi to finish off the derby.

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