LaLiga match report FC Barcelona v Espanyol 30 March 2019

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Barca nearly took a 20th-minute lead when a shot from Ivan Rakitic flashed wide of the left-hand post of a Sergio Busquets delivery.

Moments later, the Catalans had limited space to orchestrate their profound structure, with Luis Suarez firing into the side-netting from an acute angle.

Espanyol were given more defensive work on the half-hour mark when Diego Lopez tipped Lionel Messi’s in-swinging free-kick out for a corner.

Five minutes into the second half, Barca continued to pose threats when a cross from Nelson Semedo found Jordi Alba, who volleyed wide of target.

With just over an hour played, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made a double change with Malcom replacing Arthur Melo and Sergi Roberto coming on for Semedo.

Malcom immediately sprung in to the action when his cross-cum shot drew a one-handed save from Lopez after combining with Coutinho.

In the final 20 minutes, Espanyol’s resistance were finally broken through Messi’s superb free-kick from edge of the area.

Whilst trying to see out the match, Barca introduced Arturo Vidal for Coutinho to control play in the last nine minutes.

The reigning champions confirmed victory a minute in to added time when Messi combined with Malcom to beat Lopez from close-range to complete his brace.