Barca conquer Catalan derby

Luis Suarez ended his goal drought as Barcelona remained in the La Liga title race with a 3-0 win at Catalan neighbours Espanyol on Saturday.

Relive the action at Cornella-El Prat as it happened with Football Espana's liveblog!

Jose Manuel Jurado's awful backpass gifted Suarez the game's opening goal, before Ivan Rakitic killed off Espanyol with an angled finish and the Uruguayan grabbed his second via another defensive blunder.

Neymar returned from suspension to reunite Barca’s MSN frontline, but Andres Iniesta missed out due to a thigh injury.

Espanyol’s last win against the Blaugrana on home soil came over 10 years ago, when they ran out 3-1 victors in January 2007

Yet it was they who started the stronger as Jose Manuel Jurado got in behind and only had Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat, before Gerard Pique blocked Pablo Piatti’s shot with his arm.

However, the former Watford man angled his shot wide of the far post, when it was easier to hit the target, while the referee waved the penalty appeal on.

From that, Barca began dominating possession and pushing further up the pitch, in a bid to suffocate Espanyol and relieve the tension.

Indeed, an unmarked Sergi Roberto met Neymar’s cross at the far post, but his header landed in Diego Lopez's side-netting.

Suarez then played a lovely reverse pass to Neymar in Espanyol’s area, but the Brazilian’s shot went wide of the near post.

Espanyol threw their good work out of the window early in the second half as Suarez latched onto Jurado’s perfectly-weighted backpass and poked a finish past the goalkeeper for his first goal in six games.

Joga Bonito from Neymar then saw him skip past several Espanyol defenders from the left, but his cross-shot was turned away by Diego Lopez.

The Brazilian followed up by bending a shot destined for the top-right corner, but Diego Lopez tipped it over in the nick of time.

The hosts finally achieved their first shot on target some 70 minutes in, but Jurado’s volley was saved down by low by Ter Stegen.

Nonetheless, Lionel Messi surged through the middle, leaving several Blanquiazul jerseys in his wake, and teed up Rakitic to his left. The midfielder continued his rich vein of form in front of goal by angling a first-time shot across Diego Lopez.

All of Quique Sanchez Flores’ substitutions were like-for-like, and the Coach’s lack of ambition was punished by a third Barca goal.  

Aaron Martin was guilty of Espanyol’s second defensive howler as he miscued his lines when clearing a cross, gifting Suarez an empty net, although Neymar was denied by Diego Lopez at his near post moments later.

Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Suarez 50, 87, Rakitic 76

Espanyol: Diego Lopez; J Lopez, David Lopez, D Reyes, Aaron; Piatti (Hernan 66), Fuego (Roca 79), Victor, Jurado; Gerard, Caicedo (Baptistao 61)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Gomes (Mascherano 78); Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Referee: Undiano Mallenco

Tags Catalan derby