Catalan derby decided by Alexis Sanchez strike

Alexis Sanchez grabbed the crucial goal in Barcelona's 1-0 derby win over Espanyol.

Story highlights

  • Barcelona beat Espanyol in Catalan derby
  • Goal from Alexis Sanchez gives Barcelona 1-0 in in Nou Camp
  • Borussia Dortmund thrash VfB Stuttgart 6-1
  • Go two points clear of Bayern Munich ahead of weekend games

Alexis Sanchez sealed Barcelona's victory in last weekend's El Clasico with an impudent goal and Friday gave them a hard won victory over Espanyol in the Catalan derby.

Sanchez struck in the 68th minute to break the deadlock in the Camp Nou and the 1-0 victory was Barca's 11th win out of 12 in La Liga.

He tapped in from close range after Brazilian star Neymar threaded a ball through the legs of two defenders to find his teammate, who netted his seventh league goal in the last nine games.

It was one of few clear cut chances for the reigning champions against obdurate opponents who occasionally offered a threat in attack.

The visitors had the best chance of the first half when Victor Sanchez was sent through and his goalward bound effort was only denied by the flailing leg of Victor Valdes in the home goal.

Read: Bale on the mark as Real hit seven

Summer signing Neymar nearly opened the scoring midway through the second half when his curling shot went just wide but ever a threat, his assist on the goal proved the crucial moment.

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By contrast, Lionel Messi had another quiet game by his standards and has now gone four straight without scoring.

Even with this comparative drought, Barcelona have forged four points clear of Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand, and nine in front of Real Madrid, beaten 2-0 last Saturday.

All three table toppers enjoyed midweek wins in a hectic period in the Spanish championship, with Atletico and Real looking to close the gap on the leaders in their 12th round matches this weekend.

In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund took over at the head of affairs from Bayern Munich after a thumping 6-1 beating of VfB Stuttgart Friday night.

Stuttgart had been unbeaten in seven league matches and took the lead through Tunisian defender Karim Haggui.

Read: Roma set Serie A record with 10th win

But their joy was to prove short lived as Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos drew Dortmund level before Marco Reus's 22nd minute effort put them ahead.

Polish scoring machine Robert Lewandowski hit a second half hat-trick with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang adding the other.

It left Juergen Klopp's men two points clear of champions Bayern, who play at Hoffenheim Saturday.

Reigning French Ligue 1 champion Paris Saint Germain stretched their unbeaten run in the league to 23 games with a 4-0 defeat of Lorient.

Goals from Lucas, Jeremy Menez and two from Edison Cavani left Laurent Blanc's men three points clear of Monaco, who play at Lille Sunday.

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