A victory that only leaves more doubts and questions for FC Barcelona
Espanyol get their first point at home of the season, while Marcel Granollers and Spain win Gerard Piqué's newly formatted Davis Cup
FC Barcelona tasted victory away from home for only the third time this season with a 1-2 win at Leganés, but needed all the good fortune they could get not to drop points and give up the leadership of the La Liga table.
Youssef En-Nesyri took advantage of Gerard Piqué’s hesitation and used the Barça defender’s body as a dummy to curl his brilliant strike around, finding the top corner for a fantastic goal that will surely make the end-of-season highlight reels.
The reigning champions had to rely on a set piece to find an equaliser, Leo Messi’s aired cross from deep found the head of Luis Suárez to net Barcelona’s first, as the attack line stuttered from open play. Antoine Griezmann struggled to find his rhythm and form a connection with his South American teammates, and was replaced by Arturo Vidal shortly after the equalizer.
The Chilean gave Valverde’s men some energy and impulse, and went on to secure the three points for the Catalans when he fired home from close range after receiving a massive dose of fortune as the ball fell his direction following a deflected kick from a Leganés defender, as Vidal would have been offside had the ball come to him from a teammate.
The victory leaves a sour taste in the mouth of Barça fans, as the performance only left even more doubts and questions about this team’s credentials.
Espanyol, first point at home
Elsewhere, Espanyol picked up their first home point of the season in La Liga with a 1-1 draw with Getafe. Since sacking David Gallego and replacing him with the more experienced Pablo Machín, performances have improved slightly, but the results have remained difficult to come by.
Draws are worth little solace as the team still sits second from bottom in La Liga, and they need to start picking up victories in order to secure their top flight status. Above them, Celta Vigo got an inspired victory to put more distance between the Catalans and safety, but the point is still a valuable one to break the streak of three defeats in a row and get off the mark in the RCDE Stadium.
Wu Lei poked home an equalizer for Espanyol following Jaime Mata’s early strike, capping off a fine performance. Machín will be frustrated at the injury sustained by Matías Vargas just three minutes after entering the match in the 70th minute, however the prominence of young talent in the team such as Víctor Gómez, Adrià Pedrosa, and Marc Roca will give perico fans reason to believe in a brighter future.
Barça Femení continue their great run of form, picking up their tenth consecutive win with a 6-1 thrashing of Deportivo Abanca in the Estadi Johan Cruyff. The victory is the 5th time in their last six outings that the Catalans have won by at least four goals, scoring a total of 28 goals in that stretch.
Meanwhile, Espanyol remain rooted to the foot of the table with just one point to their name, falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the reigning champions Atletico Madrid, who are still just one point behind Barcelona at the top of the table.
Spain win Davis Cup
Marcel Granollers was part of the Spanish national team that won their 6th ever Davis Cup, which was played out in a brand new format brought to the tennis world by Gerard Piqué’s Kosmos group.
The footballer’s company gave the tennis tournament a new World Cup style feel, played out over a week in Madrid. Organizers admitted some “tweaks” are necessary, as many matches finished up past midnight, but overall the first new-look Davis Cup was a success, as the event aims at growing “bigger and better.”
Spain beat Canada 2-0 in the final thanks to singles victories from Roberto Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal.
In basketball over the weekend, Barcelona and Club Joventut de Badalona picked up wins over UCAM Murcia and Montakit Fuenlabrada respectively, while Manresa fell to Zaragoza.
Barcelona remain two points behind Real Madrid in the table, while Badalona are now up to 6th and in with a shot of achieving a Copa del Rey spot. Manresa and Real Betis both have only four points from two wins this season, and sit at the foot of the table.