Barcelona orchestrated the agonizing demotion of Espanyol with Wednesday night's slim victory as they continued their charge to close in on La Liga leader Real Madrid. In what was a keenly contested affair, Los Blaugrana benefited from a lone goal by Luis Suarez to condemn their cross-town rivals to the second tier of Spain's football league system.
Following a lively first-half of the Derbi Barceloni, the Uruguayan forward's strike in the 56th minute, put the visitors at a disadvantage inside Camp Nou. However, that was not until Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati and Espanyol midfielder Pol Lozano had been given red cards for successive infringements.
The former had replaced Nelson Semedo three minutes earlier and, in an attempt to win a loose ball, caught Fernando Calero with a high-foot. Referee Jose Montero initially handed the teenager a yellow card but changed to red following a consultation with VAR. Less than four minutes later, Pol Lozano was also given his marching orders after he caught Gerard Pique with a late tackle.
In effect Fati, at the age of 17 years and 251 days, became the is the second youngest player in La Liga history to be sent off in the 21st century. The youngest to have attained the unwanted feat was Marc Muniesa, who was then 17 years and 57 days.
Ansu Fati sent off less than five minutes after coming on!— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) July 8, 2020
A big blow for Barcelona and a real opportunity for Espanyol to grab a famous result?
Well, just a couple of minutes later...Espanyol's Pol Lozano was also given a straight red after VAR review pic.twitter.com/SwapHCiSvZ
For Espanyol, having 24 points with three games left will not be enough for them to remain in La Liga for next season. The Periquitos have spent 88 of 89 seasons in the Spanish top-flight since the competition was founded in 1928 and will play in the second tier next season for just the second time in their history.