For their great return to competition after the World Cup-2022 parenthesis, the Blaugranas opened the scoring in the 7th minute thanks to a header from Marcos Alonso, but were joined on a penalty conceded by the same Alonso and converted by Joselu ( 73rd) before a crazy end to the match marked by two expulsions and a shower of yellow cards.
And despite the nine minutes of additional time, no Blaugrana striker has managed to shine... not even Robert Lewandowski, back in Spain after traveling to Qatar with Poland, and aligned as a starter despite not should not play this match.
Sanctioned with a red card in his last match against Osasuna on November 8 (2-1), "Lewy" was suspended for three matches.
Barça appealed this decision, and asked that the Pole be allowed to play pending the outcome of his complaint.
A first court refused this request, but a second court in Madrid finally accepted that the Polish goleador be aligned on the lawn pending the examination of this appeal, which caused misunderstanding in the ranks of Espanyol.
FC Barcelona's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski in the 1-1 draw against Espanyol on December 31, 2022 at Camp Nou in Barcelona.
© Paul BARRENA / AFP
Before kick-off and the minute of silence in tribute to Pelé (who died Thursday at the age of 82), the Pole presented his Golden Boot as Europe's top scorer to the Camp Nou audience, alongside the Golden Boy Gavi.
Mateu Lahoz again criticized
On Saturday, the performance of referee Mateu Lahoz, already in the spotlight after his controversial refereeing in the Argentina - Netherlands quarter-final at the 2022 World Cup, ignited the Spanish media.
In the last half hour of play, the Valencian referee drew seven yellow cards in six minutes, and even sent off two players for protests (Jordi Alba and Vinicius Souza), leaving the two teams ten against ten.
He even almost returned a third, but ended up canceling his red to Leandro Cabrera after video viewing (85th).
At the end of the game, Andreas Christensen almost gave the victory to his team with a header, but a providential save from Alvaro Fernandez kept Espanyol afloat.
Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz rules out Espanyol midfielder Vinicius Souza during the derby against FC Barcelona on December 31, 2022 at Camp Nou in Barcelona.
© Paul BARRENA / AFP
Later in the afternoon (4:15 p.m.), Real Sociedad hosts its neighbor Osasuna while Villarreal receives Valencia CF, for the other two derbies of the day in La Liga.
© 2022 AFP