La Liga: Barcelona win derby against Espanyol, relegate city rivals

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ISLAMABAD:    Barcelona kept its title hopes alive with a 1-0 win in the city derby against Espanyol in the Spanish league on Wednesday, sealing the rival’s relegation for the first time in nearly three decades.
Luis Suárez scored the winning goal early in the second half to move Barcelona within a point of leader Real Madrid and send Espanyol to the second division after 26 straight seasons in the top flight.
Real Madrid can reclaim a four-point lead with three rounds left with a home win against relegation-threatened Alavés on Friday. Madrid, seeking its first league title in three years, has a perfect record since the league resumed following the coronavirus break.
“We knew it would be a difficult match because of Espanyol’s situation,” Suárez said. “We are going to keep trying to win our matches and see if Madrid falters.”
Only a win in the city derby could have kept last-place Espanyol with a chance of staying in the top tier. The club owned by Chinese businessman Chen Yansheng hasn’t played in the second division since the 1993-1994 season. It had been among the teams with most consecutive seasons in the top flight, along with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.
“We have to apologize to our fans for what we have made them go through”.