Barcelona began their era under Xavi Hernandez with a derby victory over Espanyol at Camp Nou. The club legend gave a start to rising stars Gavi and Nico, while 19-year-old Ilias Akhomach made his debut for the first team.
The hosts were mainly on the front foot during the initial half of the game. Espanyol did not have much-attacking output in the opening 45 minutes. But, Ter Stegen was called into action when he had to tip a deflected shot over the bar.
Only minutes into the second half, Memphis Depay would earn a penalty for Barcelona and convert it to score the first goal under Xavi.
Raul De Tomas would prove to be the primary attacking force for the visitors. The 27-year-old hit the woodwork numerous times in the second half, and was denied an equaliser for his team.
Landry Dimata of Espanyol had the best chance of the night, meeting a cross from Nico Melemed unmarked. To the disappointment of the away fans, the player headed the ball wide and threw away a great chance to equalise.
A number of close calls were seen throughout the game, but Espanyol could not find the back of the net past ter Stegen. The German keeper managed to keep a clean sheet in the derby as Barcelona picked up all three points.
One of the important takeaways from the match will be that Barcelona’s defense still needs improving. Had it not been for a lack of clinical finishing, Raul De Tomas and Espanyol could have taken a point off of their local rivals.