The "MSG" is back: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann combined again on Wednesday during the 35th day of Liga to allow Barça to win 1-0 in the derby against Espanyol, sentenced to relegation, and thus return to a point of Real Madrid, which receives Alavés Friday.
Griezmann's heel, Messi's striking strike and Suarez's goal: with this magic combination three days after relaunching the connection of their attacking trio, the three offensive stars of Barça lit the only spark of a poor derby on goal of the Uruguayan (56th) and sealed the relegation of Espanyol to D2.
Paradoxically, it is the exclusion of the blaugrana prodigy Ansu Fati (17 years old), followed by that of Pol Lozano on the Espanyol side, who liberated the "MSG", taking advantage of the spaces freed up in the thick curtain of the Espanyol to open the score.
Entered at half-time in place of Nelson Semedo, Fati was sent back to the bench by the referee four minutes later for an aerial tackle on the shin of Fernando Calero (49th), before Pol Lozano followed him for a similar gesture on Gerard Piqué in the 53rd.
- A Barça still sick -
After Antoine Griezmann's superb goal Sunday in the festival at Villarreal (4-1), the French world champion had to give way to Arturo Vidal in the 71st minute Wednesday, but had time to take on the role of facilitator for 15th goal in 25 La Liga matches from Uruguayan center-forward Luis Suarez.
Like the six-time Golden Ball Lionel Messi, who has scored only once in the last six games (against Atlético on June 30, 2-2), but who has 20 assists in La Liga this season .
But the French and the Argentinian have not succeeded in hiding the latent symptoms of a Barca who is still ill.
Faced with the red Liga lantern, now condemned to the Segunda descent for the first time since 1994, the teammates of the Argentine superstar shone less than against Villarreal three days earlier.
- The "worst season" of Espanyol -
The Blaugrana did not frame a strike in the first period, for the first time in their season at Camp Nou. On the contrary, it was Espanyol who had the best chance of opening the scoring, on this strike from Adrian Embarba stopped by Marc-André ter Stegen (9th) or on this overflow from Raul De Tomas whose strike hit the post (43rd).
The end of a disastrous season for Espanyol, bought by the Chinese group Rastar in 2016, which had injected 60 million euros to start a new project in "the other club of Barcelona", but which will therefore know the D2, 26 years after leaving it on a championship title.
"The current season, the worst in our history, deeply indignant us. (...) The current RCD Espanyol Barcelona project is a failure," chanted the federation of peñas (groups of supporters) of Espanyol, fatalist in a press release issued Monday.
For Barça, this is a necessary victory in the title race: the Catalans, provisionally one point behind the leader merengue, always have in mind to keep their crown in La Liga, despite the advance taken by the "Maison blanche" by Zidane, who receives Alavés on Friday to take another step towards the title.
Results of the 35th day:
Valence CF - Valladolid 2 - 1
Celta Vigo - Atlético Madrid 1 - 1
Betis Seville - Osasuna 3 - 0
Getafe - Villarreal 1 - 3
Barcelona - Espanyol Barcelona 1 - 0
(7:30 p.m.) Eibar - Leganés
Majorca - Levante
(22:00) Athletic Bilbao - Seville
(7:30 p.m.) Real Sociedad - Granada
(10 p.m.) Real Madrid - Alavés
© 2020 AFP