2019-2020 LaLiga
  • David López (23')
  • Wu Lei (88')
  • Luis Suárez (50')
  • Arturo Vidal (59')
  • Frenkie de Jong (75')

Wu Lei strikes late as Espanyol and Barcelona draw in Catalan derby

Chinese striker Wu Lei scored a late goal to earn Espanyol a 2-2 draw with Barcelona in an entertaining affair in the Catalan derby.

Barcelona were trying to move back to the top of La Liga after Real Madrid beat Getafe 3-0 earlier in the day, but they were down 1-0 inside of 25 minutes when David Lopez's glancing header from a free kick left Neto frozen footed in the visitor's goal.

Ernesto Valverde's side grew into the game as the half wore on with Lionel Messi heading right at Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez and Luis Suarez hitting the post soon after as Barcelona went into the break trailing Espanyol in their first game under Abelardo Fernandez, their third coach of the season.

We did the hardest thing which is to come from behind away from home and take the lead so it feels like two points dropped," Suarez said.

"It's always tougher with one player less, as the opponent starts to grow in confidence but it's not an excuse. We are the champions and we are obliged to win every game so we need to come up with some solutions."

Espanyol had not beaten their more glamorous neighbours in the league since 2009 but they made an excellent start and deservedly went ahead in the 23rd minute when defender Lopez escaped his marker to nod home Marc Roca's free kick.

Ivan Rakitic made way for Arturo Vidal at half-time and Barca got back on level terms five minutes after the restart when Suarez beat Lopez at the near post with a first-time shot from Jordi Alba's perfect ball into the penalty area.

Suarez then turned provider, crossing with the outside of his foot for Vidal to head home at the back post and put Barcelona in front 2-1.

Frenkie de Jong picked up a pair of yellow cards in just under 10 minutes and was sent off with a quarter of an hour to play, leaving Barcelona to finish the match shorthanded.

The booking would cost Barcelona as substitute Lei picked up a nice through ball from Matías Vargas, took one look at the goal and blasted a first-time shot past Neto to level the score and become the first Chinese player to score against Barcelona.

Valverde said the sending-off had been crucial.

"De Jong's red card did us a lot of damage, we had three chances to finish them off then with one chance they equalised," the coach said.

"Everything was in our favour then we were knocked out of shape. We feel bad because we wanted all three points."

The point was enough to put Barca back in first in La Liga, but only on goal differential ahead of Real Madrid, while bottom-side Espanyol cut their deficit to fellow relegation strugglers Leganes and Celta Vigo.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Atletico Madrid 37 +41 83
2 Real Madrid 37 +38 81
3 Barcelona 37 +46 76
4 Sevilla FC 37 +19 74
5 Real Sociedad 37 +20 59
6 Real Betis 37 -1 58
7 Villarreal 37 +17 58
8 Celta Vigo 37 -1 53
9 Athletic Bilbao 37 +6 46
10 Granada 37 -18 45
11 Osasuna 37 -10 44
12 Cádiz 37 -22 43
13 Valencia 37 -3 42
14 Levante 37 -11 40
15 Alavés 37 -20 38
16 Getafe 37 -15 37
17 Huesca 37 -19 33
18 Elche 37 -23 33
19 Real Valladolid 37 -22 31
20 Eibar 37 -22 30