The 4-2 victory at Espanyol in round 34 helped Barca widen the gap with Real to 14 points to win La Liga four rounds early.
Final result Espanyol vs Barca (2-4)
Goals: Puado (73′), Joselu (90+2′) – Lewandowski (11′, 40′), Balde (20′), Koune (53′)
Robert Lewandowski’s double, and Alejandro Balde’s and Jules Kounde’s goals helped Barca win jubilantly in the Catalan derby to overthrow Real in La Liga. They currently have 85 points, 14 points more than their great rival while the season has only four rounds left.
Barca won La Liga for the first time since the 2018-2019 season under Ernesto Valverde and also the first title under Xavi. The owner of Camp Nou has the 27th national championship, but is still eight times behind Real. In addition to La Liga, Barca also won the Spanish Super Cup this season when they defeated Real 3-1 in the final in Saudi Arabia in January 2023.
After the victory on the RCDE field, Barca members gathered in a circle in the middle of the field, shouldered each other, and danced to celebrate the championship. But this celebration lasted only a few minutes, before the enthusiastic Espanyol fans flooded the field, sending the visitors into the tunnel.
This group of fans threw objects and expressed anger at the management of Espanyol. Even extremists smashed billboards, VAR screens and assaulted security staff. The crowd was only cleared when riot police armed with guns, pepper spray and shields appeared.
Contrary to the joy of Barca’s championship, the club and city are in great danger of being relegated. Espanyol is currently 19th with 31 points, four points behind the safety of Valladolid and Cadiz. In the remaining rounds, Espanyol met Rayo Vallecano, Atletico, Valencia and Almeria in turn.
As a guest at RCDE, Barca dominated when controlling 71%, finishing 15 times and scoring four goals from five shots on target. The visitors took the lead in the 11th minute, when Alejandro Balde stretched from the left to Lewandowski to touch the ball with his thigh to open the scoring.
Ten minutes later, it was Balde who finished close to the wall to double the lead, from Pedri’s cross on the right. Balde scored and assisted in a match for Barca for the first time in all competitions for the first time (48 games), and became the youngest player to do so in a derby against Espanyol in La Liga in the 21st century, at 19 years old. 208 days.
In the 40th minute, Lewandowski completed a brace with an empty net, from Raphinha’s cross. The Polish striker became the first Barca player to score twice in the first half of a La Liga away match against Espanyol, since Patrick Kluivert in December 2003. Lewandowski also firmly established the leading position in the top scorer race with 21 goals, four more than Karim Benzema.
Barca scored the fourth at the start of the second half, when Frenkie De Jong lit the ball for Jules Kounde to penetrate the penalty area and then headed into the corner near goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco. In the remaining minutes, Espanyol rose up but only scored two goals by Joselu and Javi Puado.
Espanyol vs Barca lineup
Espanyol: Pacheco; Gil, Cabrera, Montes, Gomez (Puado 46), Olivan (Koleosho 84); Denis (Calero 46), Darder, Ribaudo (Edu Exposito 87); Braithwaite (Pedrosa 55), Joselu.
Barca: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo (Alba 63), Christensen (Alonso 74), Balde; Pedri (Kessie 89), Busquets, De Jong; Raphinha (Dembele 62), Lewandowski, Gavi (Fati 75).