RCD Espanyol were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Cádiz on Friday night.
In a must-win match at the RCDE Stadium, Luis García opted for a back five with Nico Melamed playing just behind the frontline. With a strong turnout of blanquiazul fans at the Temple, the hosts had an energetic start where they went for it from the first minute.
Rubén Alcaraz had the first chance of the night for Cádiz as his shot flashed wide, before Melamed’s effort was not far off and his subsequent corner almost went all the way in. The visitors had a massive chance to take the lead when Sergi Guardiola found some space in the box, but dragged it wide in a huge let-off for Espanyol.
César Montes’ header came agonisingly close to the bottom corner, but it was not on target after all. A penalty shout towards the end of the first half came to nothing, leaving it goalless at half-time and a critical 45 minutes to play after the break.
As the second half got underway, it was clear that the match was all Espanyol as they pushed for the lead. Joselu’s header was inches away from going in but was kept out by the post, with Martin Braithwaite and Montes unable to follow it up.
The number nine Joselu finally found the right moment to head home Melamed’s cross, but he was offside in the build-up and it was disallowed. Braithwaite and Joselu were at it again, first the Dane’s strike being saved by goalkeeper Conan Ledesma before the latter’s backheel was smothered and dealt with accordingly by the backline.
Espanyol were giving it everything and were getting closer to the lead with every chance they had. Joselu could not believe his luck when he was denied by the woodwork again, as his close-range shot smashed off the crossbar from Sergi Darder’s ball.
Six minutes of stoppage time remained, and Espanyol had one last huge chance when Joselu’s attempt was kept out by a brilliant save from Conan. Cádiz managed one final shot on the hosts’ goal and almost took it, though Iván Alejo could not convert.
Despite throwing everything out there and having numerous clear attempts on goal, Espanyol fell just short and had to settle for a goalless draw. The point moved them up to 18th but still in the relegation zone ahead of a vital run of LaLiga fixtures.
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Óscar Gil, S. Gómez, C. Montes, Cabrera (Denis Suárez 78’), Pedrosa (Aleix V.C. 55’), Darder, Gragera (K. Bare 65’), Nico M.R. (Puado 65’), Braithwaite, Joselu
Cádiz CF: Conan, Iza, Luis Hernández, Fali (Chust 19’), A. Espino, T. Bongonda (I. Alejo 66’), R. Alcaraz, F. San Emeterio (Alex 66’) Sobrino, Chris Ramos, Sergi Guardiola (Roger Ms. 89’)
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
Bookings: Óscar Gil 10’, Cabrera 26’, C. Montes 30’, Aleix V.C. 67’; F. San Emeterio 39’, Iza 68’