0-1: Long live Darderism!
RCD Espanyol pull off late win for crucial three points against Elche CF
RCD Espanyol earned a vital 1-0 win away to Elche CF on Sunday.
In a crucial clash down at the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, Diego Martínez handed a debut in goal for Fernando Pacheco. There were also full debuts for Denis Suárez and José Gragera as the pair looked to make an impact in their first starts in blanquiazul.
Both teams were at it from the first whistle in an end-to-end opening period. Javi Puado had a decent shot on goal before Martin Braithwaite’s effort was deflected, almost wrongfooting Édgar Badía but pulling out a top save from the goalkeeper.
Elche had their best chances from headers, first Omar Mascarell whose effort was saved by Pacheco before Ezequiel Ponce headed it just over the goal. The visitors kept pushing and almost capitalised when Braithwaite pulled it back to Suárez, but his shot was cleared off the line by Enzo Roco.
For all of Espanyol’s attacks, their opponents were hitting back with attempt after attempt on goal, and Ponce could not believe it when he dragged it wide one-on-one. Puado had the ball in the back of the net for the pericos, but Sergi Darder was ruled offside just before playing the decisive pass.
Going into the break goalless, Espanyol kept pushing for the breakthrough with everything they had. Badía got down to tip Puado’s strike around the post before Braithwaite headed it over moments later.
Pacheco made yet another crucial save down low, and after a calm period the match was turned on its head when José Angel Carmona was sent off for a double booking within 10 minutes. Gil’s last involvement before being substituted was a close-range effort on goal, countered by a last-ditch defensive block as Espanyol threw everything forward.
With six minutes of stoppage time and with just minutes left, Darder came to the rescue. The captain danced his way through the defence, composed himself and fired it right into the top corner with 92 minutes on the clock. Espanyol showed once again that a perico never gives up, sealing a late win and a massive three points.
Elche CF: Édgar Badía, H. Palacios, Roco, Magallan (Bigas 46’), Carmona, Mascarell, Gumbau (Gonzalo Verdú 90+1’), C. Clerc, E. Ponce (Nteka 76’), Lucas Boyé, Fidel (Josan 88’).
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Rubén S. (Pierre-Gabriel 64’), Gragera, S. Gómez, B. Oliván (Simo 77’), Óscar Gil (Nico M.R 86’), Vini Souza, Darder, Denis Suárez (Edu Expósito 77’), Braithwaite, Puado (Aleix V.C 64’).
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
Goals: 0-1 Darder 90+2’
Bookings: Carmona 71’; Óscar Gil 43’, B. Oliván 44’, Edu Expósito 90+6’
Red cards: Carmona 81’