Barcelona: La Liga side Espanyol face sanctions from Spain's anti-violence commission for offensive chants and banners aimed at Barcelona players in the side’s Copa del Rey meeting on Wednesday. The final of a series of three bad-tempered Catalan derbies in 12 days saw the Espanyol fans target Colombian popstar Shakira — the partner of Barca defender Gerard Pique —Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Barca won the game 2-0 to progress to the quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate.
Barcelona forward Munir El Haddadi (in red) shoots to score against Espanyol in the Spanish Copa del Rey Round of 16 second leg tie in Cornella near Barcelona yesterday. Pic/AFP
“The banners and chants we saw last night at Cornella are unacceptable and will be studied by the anti-violence commission,” president of the Spanish sports council, Miguel Cardenal, said yesterday.
Pique had been the target of abuse from Espanyol earlier after he mocked the club’s fans for being unable to fill the stadium when Barca beat them 4-1 in the previous leg at Camp Nou. In retaliation, the home fans yesterday held out a banner reading ‘Shakira es de todos’, which translates as ‘Shakira is everyone’s’Espanyol are already facing possible sanctions after the Spanish league reported racist chanting aimed at Brazilian star Neymar in the first of the recent clashes between the sides on January 2. Possible sanctions vary from a fine to part or full closure of their Cornella-El Prat stadium.
Meanwhile, fresh from picking up his record fifth Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi was once again Barca’s inspiration as he brilliantly picked out Munir El Haddadi to open the scoring before the youngster tapped home his second of the night late on.