Missed Messi penalty costs Barcelona in cup derby defeat

Barca, who lost for the first time this season against Espanyol - face Real Betis at the weekend.

Oscar Melendo's late goal sealed victory for Espanyol and handed Barca their first defeat since August, after Messi watched his second-half spot kick get saved by Diego Lopez at RCDE Stadium. It's the first of three matchups in a few-week span between the two sides, with Barcelona hosting the second leg on January 25 before Espanyol hosts a league match on February 4. From there, the game went in a direction we didn't want and we complicated things. "We have to overcome this adverse result, and we hope our fans will help us". The penalty miss may have affected us too much but at the Camp Nou we will have our chances. With 121 goals in his first 147 matches, helping his side to two league titles, a Champions League trophy and three King's Cups, among other silverware, everything Suarez touched turn to gold, until this season.

Valverde said: "I liked my team a lot". The penalty save reactivated the crowd - there was some tension and then they scored.

FC Barcelona had a number of chances to win this game including a penalty.

Those that came in - Denis, Lucas Digne, Carles Alena and Aleix Vidal - struggled to have an impact, but Valverde defended his team selection.

Barca had Luis Suarez on the bench, and with Andres Iniesta and Ousmane Dembele out injured, they had Denis Suarez and Aleix Vidal either side of Messi in attack.

"We played with the same players in Vigo [against Celta] and I am happy with them", the coach said.

  • Angelo Rivera