After taking in a Tercera Division game at lunchtime, by the evening, it was time for some La Liga action, as Espanyol took on Valencia.
The last time I went to Barcelona, I went to a match at the Nou Camp and a tour of Espanyol’s ground. I promised myself if I ever went to Barcelona again, I would do it the other way around. So, when I went to Barcelona recently, I kept my promise, taking in Espanyol’s match against Valencia.
This was a good choice of match for me, as both clubs are on the UEFA 101 Club list.
Getting a ticket for this match was easy, purchasing from a tourist office in the city on the Thursday beforehand. The number of empty seats in the stadium suggests I could have just turned up on the day with no problems.
For those who have watched a match at the Power8 stadium, I was along the side of the pitch, where the TV cameras were situated.
One new addition to the stadium since I last visit was a statue of Dani Jarque, an Espanyol player who died during the summer of 2009, soon after captaining the club in their opening game at the ground.
The quality of attacking was poor, both teams looked short of ideas going forward. Both team’s defending wasn’t that impressive either, gifting chances which weren’t taken.
Espanyol’s best moment came when Felipe Caicedo burst through but fired straight at the keeper.
It was a game that had the look of a 0-0 draw about it, until Pablo Piatti got a touch onto a cross to put Valencia 1-0 up. The Valencia fans in the corner of that goal celebrated, as did pockets of fans sat in the home end.
It looked as though Valencia were going to smother the game and hold on for a 1-0 win. Espanyol had one big attacking moment when Christian Stuani looked certain to score, until a Valencia defender managed to get a block on the line.
Dani Parejo’s free-kick gave Valencia a 2-0 lead, which sparked an exodus of home fans.
Those that left missed an immediate response, when Sergio Garcia took advantage of some poor defending to fire home.
Espanyol now had hope, and the game became end to end, with both teams immediately counter-attacking every time they won the ball. As injury time approached, the game got niggly with players squaring up to each other.
Valencia were able to hang on, and climb into 4th, as they aim to qualify for the Champions League.
Espanyol can’t qualify through the league, but they can still reach Europe, as they have a Copa Del Rey Semi-Final against Athletic Bilbao to look forward to.