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Barcelona vs Espanyol. Spanish La Liga.

Camp Nou.

Barcelona 1

  • A Fati (sent off 50th minute)
  • L Suárez (56th minute)

Espanyol 0

  • P Lozano (sent off 53rd minute)

Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: Luis Suarez nets winner as two sent off in derby

Report as one of Spain's most prestigious clubs suffer relegation

Luis Suarez celebrates with his teammates
Image: Luis Suarez celebrates with his Barcelona team-mates after netting the winning goal

Barcelona moved back to within one point of Real Madrid in La Liga with a fiery 1-0 win over Espanyol, whose relegation was confirmed.

Luis Suarez struck the only goal (56), lashing a loose ball into the net shortly after both sides had been reduced to 10 men in a frantic start to the second half.

Barca's teenage forward Ansu Fati was sent off for a reckless tackle five minutes after coming off the bench but Espanyol's numerical advantage lasted only three minutes as Pol Lozano was dismissed, also following a VAR review.

Barca, still chasing a third consecutive Spanish title, are on 76 points after 35 games, while Real Madrid are top with 77 and can restore their four-point advantage when they play host to Alaves on Friday.

Espanyol, one of Spain's most prestigious clubs, were relegated for the first time since winning promotion back to La Liga in 1994.

Barca had produced one of their best performances of the season by hammering Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday but they looked sluggish at an empty Nou Camp, which normally would have been in full voice on derby day.

Espanyol frustrated their more illustrious neighbours in the first half with a five-man defence and created the better chances.

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Barca 'keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to be aware to prevent his team-mate Clement Lenglet from scoring an own goal just before half-time and Espanyol's Didac Vila fired the loose ball against the post.

Ter Stegen had also come to Barca's rescue earlier, spreading his body and keeping out a low strike from Adri Embarba with his leg.

Fati was sent on to install some energy and spark into Barcelona's performance but overstepped the mark when recklessly leaving a high boot in on Fernando Calero. The on-field decision of a booking was upgraded to red by the VAR.

Ansu Fati is dismissed after a VAR review
Image: Ansu Fati is dismissed after a VAR review

This presented Espanyol with an opportunity to record a famous win but in keeping with their slapstick season, they lost their advantage just three minutes later when Lozano went in dangerously on Gerard Pique and was dismissed.

Barca found a way through with the help of their three forwards, as Antoine Griezmann raced to the by-line and passed to Lionel Messi whose shot deflected into the path of Suarez and the Uruguayan made no mistake.

Elsewhere, Villarreal kept alive their chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 3-1 win at Getafe, moving within three points of fourth-place Sevilla.

Real Betis secured its stay in the first division with a comfortable 3-0 win over Osasuna, ending a three-match winless streak.

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