Memphis welcomes Xavi

Barça get a balsamic victory against a brave Espanyol thanks to a penalty goal from the Dutchman


FC Barcelona has signed, in Xavi Hernández’s first match as coach, a suffered triumph in the derby against RCD Espanyol (1-0) on the fourteenth day of LaLiga Santander, where a penalty transformed by Memphis at the start of the second part allowed the Catalans to take the three points before an intrepid parakeet.

From eleven meters, the Dutch striker sealed the culé triumph, the former midfielder’s first, to end a disastrous streak of four consecutive games without winning and settle in sixth place (20), eight points behind the lead.

Quite a declaration of intent, although more in form than in practice. This was the return of the ‘prodigal son’ to the Camp Nou, where he left, in front of 74,418 spectators, with eight homegrown players in search of recovering the essence of the Barça club, all against an opponent spurred on by the maximum rivalry between the two.

Like Cruyff, Xavi made his debut on the culé bench also against the parrots, and also won a balsamic victory on which to support the new Barça. In the eleven, he gave way to the forward of the subsidiary Ilias Akhomach, who was about to surprise in the first minutes in a play neutralized by offside.

Before, Memphis warned with a volley that forced Diego López to act, who stopped in two halves and shortly after made a good stretch to disrupt another shot by Sergio Busquets from the crown of the area. Vicente Moreno’s men only tried on the counter, in a shot by Raúl de Tomás on the edge of half-time that went brushing the crossbar after touching Piqué.

As soon as the match resumed, Memphis fell in the area after a blow to Cabrera’s ankle and the referee did not hesitate to call a penalty, a decision confirmed after seeing the VAR. The Dutchman, with a low shot, beat the Galician to inaugurate the light and score the first goal of the ‘Xavi era’.

Abde was able to increase the account in a shot that Pedrosa deflected when the azulgrana had already outwitted Diego López, an opportunity to which De Tomás, the best of the Blue and Whites, responded with a shot that was stuck to the post.

The stick itself again deprived ‘RDT’ of both in 81, repelled a magnificent free-kick, and four minutes later he ran into the wood again after a header. Dimata joined the espanyolista arreón with another header that went wide.

At the last minute, Ter Stegen thwarted the last chance perica, from Wu Lei, to defend the three points and regain Barça’s morale, which will be tested again next Tuesday in the Champions League against Benfica.


–RESULT: FC BARCELONA, 1 – RCD ESPANYOL, 0 (0-0, at halftime).


FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Araujo, min.88), Piqué, Éric García, Alba; Busquets (Riqui Puig, min.78), De Jong, Nico (Demir, min.88); Gavi (Coutinho, min.70), Ilias Akhomach (Abde, min.46) and Memphis.

SPANISH RCD: Diego López; Aleix, Sergi Gómez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; David López (Morlanes, min.56), Darder (Loren, min.95), Herrera (Dimata, min.78); Embarba (Wu Lei, min.78), Puado (Nico Melamed, min.56) and Raúl de Tomás.


1-0, minute 48: Memphis, penalty.

– REFEREE: From Cerro Grande (Madrid). He admonished Abde (min.59), Mingueza (min.64), Frenkie de Jong (min.83) and Ter Stegen (min.90) by FC Barcelona and Pedrosa (min.59) and Cabrera (min.59) .93) by Espanyol.

–STADIUM: Camp Nou. 74,418 spectators.