BARCELONA ( Associated Press) – Barcelona will end the year at the top of the Spanish league and with Robert Lewandowski on the pitch after the Catalans recorded a 1-1 draw against Espanyol in Saturday’s Catalan derby.
Marcos Alonso sent Barca ahead with a header seven minutes later.
José Luis Mato “Joselu” equalized the match on minute 73 via a penalty, thanks to a foul that Alonso had committed in that area.
The Blaugrana resumed activities after a 50-day break for the World Cup in Qatar, which ended a streak of five wins in the league, but which keeps them ahead on goal difference with 38 points, even That’s the number of Real Madrid also beat Valladolid 2-0 on Friday the 15th day.
The game was turned into a card melee by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoj, who sent off Barcelona’s Jordi Alba for a double yellow card after 78 minutes and Espanyol’s Vinny Souza after 80 minutes. Mateu picked up a red card for Leandro Cabrera after the VAR had to be resorted to on 82. In total, each team saw six yellow and one red.
The derby was embroiled in controversy after Barca received a precautionary measure from Madrid’s central court on Friday after being sent off in the last game against Osasuna before the World Cup break so Lewandowski could play.
The Polish striker saw two yellow cards and received a three-game ban for waving at the referee. After not overturning the decision of all sporting instances, the Cully team appealed to the Court of Ordinary Justice for a new review on the number of sanctioned duels.
Espanyol – which was 16th with 13 units – protested the measure in favor of Lewandowski. They did not send a representation to the management at Camp Nou, saying that the measure was unfair, as it had begun the day the appeal was announced by the Spanish justice system.
Alonso made his debut as a goalscorer in the championship, after finding some rebound with his head following a corner kick, which he took advantage of and sent his header into the net.
The visitors’ response reached completion in one of their few forays into the area, when “Joselu” received a filtered pass that, when trying to finish, was interrupted by Alonso’s stomp, with the referee Was fined.
Parakeets goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández kept parity in the final stretch by making a potential interception on a shot by Andreas Christensen.
After the draw came the referee card fair. This sparked a series of protests that resulted in the game requiring nine minutes of overtime.