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Barça's Juvenil A team pleased with today's victory / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

It’s impossible to add any more excitement to the end of the season. In the last game of the season, the Azulgranas and Espanyol Juvenil A teams will vie for the title this weekend. The blue and whites came into today's match as leaders of the Liga but Óscar García’s men, who now depend on themselves to win the title, did well to leapfrog their rival in the standings as they beat Espanyol in the Catalan derby in front of 1,678 supporters at the Miniestadi.

Barça took the lead on eight minutes after Rubén scored an own goal when he attempted to clear a cross from Dongou. Before that, Óscar García’s men had come close to scoring on Pau, Espanyol's keeper, through a cross from Edu Campabadal from the right wing. Despite being ahead, the first minutes saw both teams fighting to dominate ball possession.

On 17 minutes, Jean Marie Dongou tried his luck with a right-footed shot from just outside the area. Pau responded well and saved the attempt. Espanyol tried to react but little by little they were pinned back in the midfield. Dani Poyatos’ men increased their intensity of play to counter Barça’s supremacy in the middle and by the end of the first half they were buzzing around Miguel Bañuz’ goal.

Dongou scores the 2-0 before the half

Just before halftime, on 41 minutes, Dongou scored Barça’s second goal. The Cameroonian took advantage of a rebound after Patric’s shot to score a classic centre striker goal. Dongou, who has made his debut and scored for Barça B, was eager to play this match against Espanyol and he proved that he was up to the task.

More intensity in the second half

Two minutes into the second half, on a corner kick, Bonilla headed a shot to Bañuz’ left. Seconds later, a shot from Gil tested the Azulgrana keeper, who did well to save the attempt. Barça’s Juvenil A were struggling to find their footing - Grimaldo, however, did have a chance to score Barça’s third on 62 minutes but his attempt went wide.

Ernesto, who was injured, came off for the always electric Ebwelle. Barça had weathered the Espanyol onslaught. However, the referee gave Bagnack his marching orders as the player picked up his second bookable offence. Barça were left with 10 players. Óscar García quickly reacted and sent in Bakoyock to restructure his side.

Physically demanding derby

It was an intense derby, both for Barça and Espanyol - both teams had used up all four of their substitutions. On 88 minutes, Barça had a magnificent chance to put the game away but the shot was saved. Quintillà also had a chance to score in stoppage time, but he too was denied. The Liga title will be decided next week, Barça now depend on themselves to win the trophy.

MATCH STATS

FC Barcelona, 2
RCD Espanyol, 0

FC Barcelona: Bañuz, Edu, Grimaldo, Bagnack, Ayala, Samper, Ernesto (Ebwelle, min 73), Patric (Quintillà, min 85), Dongou, Miguel Ángel (Calvet, min 77) and Quesada (Bakoyock, min 80).

RCD Espanyol: Pau, Arroyo, Bonilla, Ruben, Aitor (Héctor, min 77), Albert (Gil, min 45), Kilian (Pedro, min 45. Diego, min 63), Joan, Jafar, Rufo and Roger.

Goals: 1-0, Ruben (pp, min 8); i 2-0, Dongou (min 41).

Referee: Víctor Manuel Sánchez Rico. Yellow cards: Aitor (min 22), Patric (min 30), Bagnack (min 36 and 79), Roger (min 51) and Grimaldo (min 56). Red card: Bagnack (min 79).

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