Espanyol 2-4 Barcelona: Barcelona crowned La Liga Champions for the first time in four years
Barcelona sealed their first La Liga title since 2018-19 after a stylish win at the home of city rivals Espanyol – 14 points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid with four games remaining.
Barca were 3-0 up by half-time, Robert Lewandowski scoring his 20th league goal of the season before Alejandro Balde, 19, doubled the lead.
Lewandowski added the third before Jules Kounde’s header made it 4-0.
Espanyol did reduce the deficit through Javier Puado and Joselu but remain in trouble near the bottom of the table.
Barcelona have 85 points, 14 more than nearest rivals Real Madrid, with 12 points left to play for.
It is their first La Liga title since club legend Lionel Messi left in August 2021 and first since Xavi was appointed manager in November 2021.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez was aware of what was at stake at RCDE Stadium against Espanyol in Sunday’s Catalan derby.
And that is why, for the first time since he has been in the Barça dugout, he repeated the starting XI for the third consecutive match. With his four midfielders, with everything. Only the option of Ousmane Dembélé at the expense of Raphinha was skipped.
And the truth is that the coach from Terrassa experienced one of his sweetest nights (perhaps the sweetest) since he has been in charge of the first team. An exhibition in the first half to remember. The Blaugrana crushed a very timid Espanyol, who didn’t know how to hide. And when they realised, it was too late.
Xavi experienced the match in a much more relaxed way than he had probably expected. After all the mess of the celebration and some regrettable images of the Espanyol ultras trying to attack the players, he appeared before the cameras.
“We are left with a magnificent feeling, more than 10 months of work, of sacrifice. It has been an extraordinary job. For the fans, for the club, it is important for the stability of the project, we must continue on this path,” said the Barça boss, beaming.
In the match itself, Xavi commented that “we signed off the league (title) with a fantastic game, we were brilliant in the first half, we didn’t let our guard down, we scored four.
Then we did relax.
We won the league in a derby, the scenario was scripted, to win the league title in a derby and with five games to go”.