FC Barcelona clinched the La Liga title last night, thanks to a brilliant victory away at RCD Espanyol Stadium, thus ending an agonizing wait four-year wait to get hold of the trophy. Lewandsowski, Kounde and Balde were on target as they ensured a thumping victory in the first half itself, going up by 3-0.
Barcelona ends 4-year wait for the trophy
Xavi’s men have ended an agonizing wait of four years to win the trophy after getting denied for the past four years. It was already decided that if Barcelona managed to do a stalemate against their derby opponents, they would be crowned the champions.
But, every Catalan started dreaming of the title as soon as top striker Lewandowski opened the scoring from a sumptuous assist from the prodigy Alejandro Balde, who had a brilliant game last night as he scored his first goal for the club too.
Dominant from the beginning
Xavi fielded his strongest eleven in the quest for the title last night. Going with a traditional 4-3-3 formation, the “B-A-C-K” has once again shown why they are called the best. With Araujo and Christensen in the center, it was Balde and Kounde who flanked the left and right wings, continuously barging into the Espanyol defense, setting up tense moments with their impeccable passes and pace.
The midfield troika comprised seasoned Busquets, who starred the field in one of his last few matches before leaving the club next month, accompanied by Pedri and Frenkie de Jong. And the vicious attack saw Lewandowski flanked by the “prodigal” Gavi and the Brazilian wonder, Raphinha.
Espanyol, on the other hand, employed a defense-heavy approach to thwart the attacks from their title-chasing opponents by going with a 5-3-2 line-up, with Joselu and former Barca striker Martin Braithwaite starring in the front.
It was expected that either Polish striker Lewandowski or his Brazilian winger mate Raphinha would open the scoring for the Catalans. And the fans were not disappointed as it was Lewa who opened the scoring on the 11th minute, with a soothing assist from the brilliant Balde, who made a vicious run in to the Espanyol box, and assisting the highest scorer of the league from an impromptu angle.
As the Espanyol had started to breathe, it was Balde who stopped it once again, by his superb finish after another bright star Pedri assisted him from the right flank, with the 18-year old Balde capping off the goal, striking for the first time this season.
After the second goal, it was already assorted that Bara were the league champions, but Xavi’s men has always been hungry for more, as was evident from the beginning of the season. Lewa added his second goal of the night, assisted by none other than Raphinha, just before the half-time whistle. With this goal, he increased his tally to 21 goals, four ahead of his nemesis Karim Benzema, and is well on course to win the Pichichi trophy.
Now, it was time for another defender to show his striking skills as Jules Kounde rounded off the night with a sumptuous finish from Frenkie de Jong’s assist, with the game remaining just a mere formality.
Luis Garcia’s team could barely offer any resistance to Xavi’s always hungry Barca as they had 29 percent possession, compared to 71 percent for the Catalans. But, both the teams had 15 shots as Espanyol offered to end the night with two consolation goals from Joselu and Javi Puado.
Champions after a long time
After the final whistle was blown, it was a happy dugout for the Barca team, as they had ended their 4 year wait for clinching this title. It was in 2019, that Messi won it for the Catalans. After a long wait, the league finally came to the Camp Nou, and a first of many for the boss, Xavi, who has won this title on multiple occasions as a player, now adding one more to the cabinet, as a manager.
It was one of the breakthrough seasons for Barcelona, with a new manager, new bunch of players with a mix of both young bright talents guided by seasoned veterans, as this season will be remembered by everyone for a long time. Throughout the entire season, they have been on their top form, with a brilliant backline , a seasoned midfield trio and a potent attack, and not to forget, the Great Wall of Barcelona, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, who single-handedly saved the club in many matches.
The new era has indeed begun!