Barcelona win La Liga for the first time since 2019
Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Espanyol in round 34 of La Liga has widened the gap between them and Real Madrid to 14 points, securing an early title win with four rounds remaining.
Robert Lewandowski’s brace and goals from Alejandro Balde and Jules Kounde helped Barcelona to a resounding victory in the Catalonia derby, toppling Real Madrid in La Liga. They now have 85 points, 14 points ahead of their arch-rivals with only four rounds left in the season.
This is Barcelona’s first La Liga title since the 2018-2019 season under Ernesto Valverde, and the first trophy won under Xavi’s management. The Camp Nou side has now won their 27th national championship, but still trails Real Madrid by eight. In addition to La Liga, Barcelona also won the Spanish Super Cup this season by defeating Real Madrid 3-1 in the final in Saudi Arabia in January 2023.
After their victory at RCDE Stadium, the Barcelona players gathered in a circle in the middle of the field, hugging each other and dancing to celebrate their championship win. However, the celebration only lasted a few minutes before some violent Espanyol fans stormed the area, causing the away team players to scatter and run to the tunnel.
These fans threw objects and expressed their anger towards the Espanyol leadership. Some even vandalized advertising signs, and the VAR screen, and attacked security personnel. The crowd was only dispersed when riot police armed with guns, pepper spray, and shields arrived.
While Barcelona celebrated their championship win, their city rivals are at risk of relegation. Espanyol is currently in 19th place with 31 points, four points behind the safety positions held by Valladolid and Cadiz. In the remaining rounds, Espanyol will face Rayo Vallecano, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Almeria.
Playing as the away team at RCDE stadium, Barca dominated possession with 71%, had 15 shots, and scored four goals from five shots on target. The visitors took the lead in the 11th minute when Alejandro Balde’s cross from the left was deflected in by Lewandowski’s thigh.
Ten minutes later, Balde doubled the lead with a close-range finish from Pedri’s cross from the right. Balde became the youngest Barca player to score and assist in a game in all competitions (48 games) and in a La Liga derby against Espanyol in the 21st century, at 19 years and 208 days.
In the 40th minute, Lewandowski completed his brace with a tap-in from Raphinha’s cross. The Polish striker became the first Barca player to score two goals in the first half of an away La Liga game against Espanyol since Patrick Kluivert in December 2003. Lewandowski also solidified his lead in the race for the Pichichi with 21 goals, four ahead of Karim Benzema.
Barca added a fourth goal early in the second half when Frenkie De Jong chipped the ball for Jules Kounde to head in at the near post past goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco. Espanyol pushed back and scored two goals through Joselu and Javi Puado, but it was not enough to prevent a comprehensive 4-2 victory for Barca.
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