Sat, 04 Dec 2021

MADRID, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Memphis Depay's controversial penalty at the start of the second half was enough to give Xavi Hernandez a 1-0 win over Espanyol in his debut as FC Barcelona coach on Saturday night.

Memphis scored from the spot after Leandro Cabrera was harshly adjudged to have brought him down, even though TV images showed the defender appeared to have gotten the ball.

Xavi started with three teenagers in his side, Gavi, Nico Gonzalez and Ilias Akhomach, and in the first half there were signs that he is looking for a more aggressive style of play.

However, Espanyol did enough to have taken at least a point from the game with Raul de Tomas twice hitting the post in the second half, while Landry Dimata missed a header that looked easier to score after an excellent cross from Wu Lei.

The Chinese forward also went close in the last move of the game, but just couldn't get enough of his foot onto the ball for what would have been a dramatic equalizer.

Sevilla temporarily go top of LaLiga but they will be disappointing at dropping two points at home to Alaves, whose recovery continues after a poor start to the season.

Ivan Rakitic saved a point for Sevilla with a 92nd minute goal after Victor Laguardia's early goal and a 51st minute penalty from Joselu had looked as if they were going to give Alaves an important win.

Lucas Ocampos scored Sevilla's opener in the 37th minute and Munir almost sneaked a late winner only to be denied by Alaves keeper Fernando Pacheco.

Felipe's 87th minute header gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win at home to Osasuna, who had made life very hard for Diego Simeone's men and hardly suffered in the game before the central defender's decisive header.

Saturday kicked off with Celta Vigo drawing 1-1 at home to Villarreal, who have now drawn seven games this season.

Alberto Moreno put Villarreal ahead in the 27th minute, tapping in after a terrible mistake from Celta keeper Mathias Dituro - although Dituro later kept his side in the game with a couple of important saves. Brais Mendez leveled for Celta with 15 minutes left to play after Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli failed to hold a shot from outside of the area.

Levante remain winless all season after their 0-0 draw at home to Athletic Club on Friday night in a rain-soaked Ciudad de Valencia Stadium.

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