La Liga leaders Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw at struggling Espanyol on Saturday as China striker Wu Lei came off the bench to grab a late equaliser in a pulsating city derby.
Barca’s Frenkie de Jong was sent off and Espanyol’s Wu struck two minutes from time after the champions had looked on course for victory when Arturo Vidal put them ahead in the 59th minute.
Luis Suarez scored early in the second period to cancel out David Lopez’s first-half header for Espanyol.
But Ernesto Valverde’s side had to play the final 15 minutes with 10 men after De Jong was dismissed for a second booking and substitute Wu took advantage for La Liga’s bottom side with a powerful finish.
Barca still top the standings on goal difference after 19 games but they are level on points with second-placed Real Madrid, who beat Getafe 3-0 earlier on Saturday.
“We did the hardest thing which is to come from behind away from home and take the lead so it feels like two points dropped,” Suarez said.
“It’s always tougher with one player less, as the opponent starts to grow in confidence but it’s not an excuse. We are the champions and we are obliged to win every game so we need to come up with some solutions.”
Valverde said the sending-off had been crucial.
“De Jong’s red card did us a lot of damage, we had three chances to finish them off then with one chance they equalised,” the coach said.
“Everything was in our favour then we were knocked out of shape. We feel bad because we wanted all three points.”
Quick-fire goals against Levante take Atletico up to third
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid made it three La Liga wins in a row by beating Levante 2-1 at home on Saturday to climb up to third in the standings following an action-packed game in which three goals were scored in the space of five minutes.
Argentine forward Angel Correa gave the home side the lead in the 13th minute after Kieran Trippier took the Levante defence by surprise by volleying a chipped pass from Thomas Partey towards Correa.
The visitors responded three minutes later with a volley of their own from striker Roger Marti which flummoxed Atleti keeper Jan Oblak at his near post but Diego Simeone’s side regained the lead 60 seconds later with a header from defender Felipe.