Saturday 20 November 2021
A lackluster win in the derby
Xavi brings back Barcelona success first
Barcelona’s dashed hopes rest on the shoulders of Xavi Hernandez. In his first appearance as a coach, the club legend can celebrate winning the city derby. As expected, what his team can offer is not yet magical.
In his idol club Xavi’s debut, ailing traditional Spanish club Barcelona awarded a win to their new coach. In the confrontation with Espanyol, the 26-times football champion won 1-0 (0-0) thanks to a goal scored by Memphis Depay and jumped from ninth to sixth place in the La Liga table. The Dutch international converted in the 48th minute with a penalty kick for which he was responsible.
“We have players and we will also need the fans,” Xavi said before his high-profile appearance. “The club has to translate the positive mood that is currently prevailing into results.” The 41-year-old played 757 matches for the Catalan side and collected 25 titles.
In any case, the score after 90 minutes was correct, but the three points had to be fought hard, and the victory fluctuated in the last seconds. “The Camp Nou became nervous and then scared in the last few minutes,” sports newspaper Marca said, describing the mood. Xavi gave the boys a chance. In addition to Jaffe (17) and Nico (19), 17-year-old Elias Akhmash made his debut. Barcelona He was in command and had a lot of possession, but the return in the first half was zero.
Depay’s goal gave fans a sigh of relief at Camp Nou, after an earlier foul by Cabrera in the penalty area. The decision, however, was controversial: Marca wrote that he would “definitely make the rounds this week in the Spanish media and beyond”, traditionally more closely associated with arch-rivals Real Madrid. The home team was still dominant, but had to shiver again and again. The biggest chance of a draw with Espanyol was missed by Landry Dimata. The former Wolfsburg missed in the 84th minute for standing in front of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with his head wide.