sport news Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: Xavi Xavi Hernandez begins Nou Camp reign with narrow ...

sport news Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: Xavi Xavi Hernandez begins Nou Camp reign with narrow ...
sport news Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: Xavi Xavi Hernandez begins Nou Camp reign with narrow ...
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol: Xavi Hernandez begins Nou Camp reign with narrow derby victory after Memphis Depay scores controversial second-half penalty Xavi Hernandez started his Barcelona managerial career with a derby win Forward Memphis Depay scored from the penalty spot in the 48th minute Espanyol spurned two clear-cut chances to grab an equaliser late on 

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Twice as many Barcelona supporters turned up to watch Xavi’s first game in charge, as attended Ronald Koeman’s last match and the new man got a little beginner’s luck to win the Catalan derby.

Memphis Depay scored the first goal of the new era with a penalty he had been awarded after he went down over a challenge from Leandro Cabrera. The contact was somewhere between minimal and non-existent but referee Carlos del Cerro Grande pointed to the spot and the decision stood.

Memphis, who had been put through brilliantly by the outstanding Gavi, scored to give Barcelona a lead their far greater ambition deserved. They could also point to a possible penalty in the first half, with David Garcia stepping on Nico, that was not given.

Xavi Hernandez started his Barcelona managerial career with a derby win on Saturday

Xavi Hernandez started his Barcelona managerial career with a derby win on Saturday

The 19-year-old midfielder, 17-year-old Gabi and 18-year-old substitute Abdessamad Ezzalzouli were the high points.

But there were shortcomings too: not least that they needed the favourable decision to score. Benfica on Tuesday still looks a massive challenge for the current group.

For now, they will want to concentrate on the positives. The players arrived together on orders from the new boss – for the first time since 2019 – and were greeted by thousands at the gates of the stadium. Inside the attendance had shot up

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