Xavi begins Barca reign with derby win


FC Barcelona began their journey under Xavi Hernandez with a 1-0 win over cross-town rivals Espanyol in LaLiga on Saturday evening.

The new era at Barcelona hit off at long last which saw a debut for 17-year-old Ilias Akhomach Chakkour and veteran Gerard Pique hauled in following a return from injury.

An energetic start from the Catalans marred the earlier exchanges and they were unfortunate not to go ahead when Ilias hoofed an inviting chance from close-range over the top.

To this end, Espanyol were able to stretch their rivals from a ball on the left-hand channel which then coincided with a hurried first-time volley at the back-post by Raul de Tomas.

Barcelona camped with huge numbers in in the defensive third of Espanyol in the closing period and opportunities from this invention followed but Memphis Depay in particular fluffed his lines.

De Tomas was on the prowl again minutes before halftime after he twisted and turn on the near side of the area to bring a save off Marc-Andre Ter Stegen with a speculative left-footed shot.

Scroll through the gallery below to see Xavi's reported 10 strict rules at Barcelona

With young Abde Ezzalzouli introduced for Ilias at halftime, Barcelona went and made the breakthrough from the spot through Depay following a foul by Leandro Cabrera.

It appeared that the Blaugrana added to their tally in the last 30 minutes when Frenkie De Jong stayed central to goal before going on to crack the net but he was flagged for offside.

Espanyol missed out on the equaliser inside the last stages after Arda Turan got goal-side from a tight angle before firing inches wide.

The Blaugrana began to live dangerously five minutes from time when a free-kick outside the box from De Tomas hit the outside post and he headed a ball out wide against the upright.

As the clocked ticked away, Barcelona hanged onto their slender lead to claim victory under their new man Xavi despite the late efforts of Espanyol.

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