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Five things you need to know about Catalan derby

Barcelona will be looking forward to Lionel Messi once again

Bengaluru, December 7: The Catalan derby between Espanyol and Barcelona at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday (December 9) promises to be an exciting one considering the fact that rivalry between the two La Liga clubs in recent months has been even sharper than usual.

Defending champions Barcelona were always expected to contend for the trophy they have won in seven of the last ten seasons, but Espanyol have surprised many observers with some superb results and performances in recent times.

Espanyol could crown an excellent start to the 2018-19 La Liga season so far with victory in the Catalan derby.

Also read: About the derby | Five players to watch

But their job is easier said than done against a strong Barcelona team boasting the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.

Before the game kicks off, myKhel.com gives you an insight on five factors about the famed Catalan derby.

Upper hand for Barca

Upper hand for Barca

Founder members of La Liga in 1929, these two sides have met on 194 occasions across all official competitions.

Barcelona have historically had the upper hand, picking up 114 wins compared to Espanyol's 39 wins. The two have drawn 41 times.

Bitter rivals

Bitter rivals

On the final day of the 1948-49 season, Barcelona wrapped up the league title thanks to a win over their bitter city rivals.

A brace from Cesar Rodriguez - the man who held the club's goal scoring record for decades until he was surpassed by Lionel Messi - earned los cules a 2-1 win to push them ahead of closest challengers Valencia in the standings.

Some revenge

Some revenge

Several decades after that 1949 meeting, Espanyol gained some revenge by essentially denying Barcelona a league title with a draw at the Camp Nou.

With just a minute left in the penultimate game of the season, Espanyol icon Raul Tamudo popped up to score his second of the game to make it 2-2 and silence the stunned home crowd.

Combined with another last-minute goal for Real Madrid elsewhere, Barcelona went on to lose the league to Real Madrid on the head-to-head record.

Six-red derby

Six-red derby

One of the most intense derbies between Espanyol and Barcelona was played back on December 13, 2003.

Barcelona won the match 3-1 at Espanyol's Montjuic stadium but the game will be remembered for the six red cards that were shown that day, three for each side.

Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Quaresma and Philip Cocu were dismissed for the visitors, while Antonio Soldevilla, Alberto Lopo and Ivan de la Pena failed to finish the game for Los Pericos.

Dual roles

Dual roles

He may now be the main man at Barcelona, but Ernesto Valverde used to be the manager at Espanyol. He was in charge for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons and led the club on a historic run to the 2007 UEFA Cup final, where they lost on penalties to Sevilla.

As a player, he was at Espanyol from 1986 to 1988 and at Barcelona from 1988 to 1990. Valverde's connection with Espanyol remains so strong to this day that Gate 89 at the RCDE Stadium carries his name.



Kick off

Espanyol vs Barcelona at RCDE Stadium

Sunday, December 9, 1.15 am IST

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    Story first published: Friday, December 7, 2018, 11:40 [IST]
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