June 24, 2018

Goalscorer Pique continues Espanyol taunts: They've left Barcelona with a Chinese president!

06 February 2018, 02:10 | Clyde Nash

Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring the winner for Barcelona against Valencia on Thursday

Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring the winner for Barcelona against Valencia on Thursday

Philippe Coutinho hit the bar in the first half before Gerard Moreno's header gave city rivals Espanyol the lead midway through the second.

Espanyol have not won a Liga derby since 2008-09 when they beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou.

Espanyol had ended Barcelona's 29-match unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on January 17, when Messi missed a penalty kick.

Espanyol lost experienced midfielder Javi Fuego to Villarreal in the closing days of the transfer window, but have had all week to prepare for the game, and striker Gerard Moreno commented that "they may be talking about other issues elsewhere, but we are concentrating on the game".

Elsewhere, Angel Correa's thunderbolt earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Valencia, helping them to close the gap on Barcelona to nine points.

The La Liga pacesetters left the RCDE Stadium with a share of the spoils on Sunday after Gerard Pique netted an 82nd-minute goal to cancel out Gerard Moreno's opener. I was telling them, in general, to be quiet, but maybe I shouldn't have.

"We have had better performances but this draw is good considering the size of the opponent".

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Lionel Messi was rested by Ernesto Valverde for the clash but the Argentine was later called back in the second half after it was evident that Barca lacked the usual fluidity and flair in the attack.

After that match, Pique's tone when talking about Espanyol infuriated rival fans and prompted an official complaint by the club.

It represents Barca's best-ever start to a campaign, bettering the 21 games Pep Guardiola's side went without defeat in 2009-10.

Eibar kicked off the day with a 5-1 thrashing of Sevilla in a game they led from the moment Kike Garcia opened the scoring in the 40th second.

While Iniesta was happy to write off Pique's antagonistic celebration, Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores suggested the feud between his club and the player will continue as a result.

Barcelona had to battle back from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to advance to the semifinals on a 2-1 aggregate, and it took a first step toward the final with a 1-0 win over Valencia in their first leg on Thursday.

Gerard Pique could miss the upcoming Copa del Rey decider against Valencia.

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