Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde blamed Frenkie De Jong’s red card for dropping two points in the derby draw with Espanyol.
Substitute Wu Lei struck in the 88th minute to earn bottom club Espanyol a dramatic 2-2 draw and leave Barcelona level on points at the top of LaLiga with Real Madrid.
Luis Suarez and substitute Arturo Vidal overturned David Lopez’s first-half goal at the start of the second period, but Dutch midfielder De Jong was sent off for a second bookable offence 15 minutes from time.
“De Jong’s red card did us damage,” Valverde said.
“We had three chances to kill the game off and we ended up drawing from one chance.
“We more or less controlled the match and we were fine after coming back (from a goal down), with this intention of continuing to score.
“They went forward and we were left with more space. It was in our favour and it removed us a bit, the opponent is always going to push at the end.
“They’re going to have a (chance), they had that and they converted it.”
Real hit the ground running after the winter break to win 3-0 at Getafe earlier on Saturday.
The pair are five points clear of Atletico Madrid – who beat Levante 2-1 on Saturday – and Sevilla.
“It leaves a bad taste because we wanted the three points,” Valverde said.
“We went in front and it feels like you’ve achieved a point if you equalise at the end.
“If you concede a late equaliser, it feels like you lose two points.
“It was difficult to break them down, but bit by bit we did it. However, we were left with 10 men and they equalised.”
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