0-1: RCD Espanyol secure first win
Espanyol prevail in Bilbao
RCD Espanyol beat Athletic Club 1-0 at San Mamés on Sunday.
Espanyol travelled to the Basque Country following consecutive home games in search of another result on the road. Coach Diego Martínez handed debuts to two new signings, goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández and Danish forward Martin Braithwaite.
Sergi Darder lobbed it through to Joselu for the visitors’ first sight at goal, but the striker sliced the volley wide. Nico Williams came close to converting a ball across the box for Athletic but could not divert it goalbound.
Iñaki Williams missed a glaring header at the near post, before the last kick of the first half saw Alex Berengeur smash a free-kick off the crossbar.
Keidi Baré came on at half-time but an unprovoked injury forced Espanyol to switch to a back three, bringing 17-year-old defender Simo on for his LaLiga debut. Omar El Hilali became the fourth debutant of the day soon after when he replaced Fernando Calero.
Javi Puado cut inside but had his goalbound shot blocked, while Braithwaite shot just wide. Gorka Guruzeta looked destined to head Athletic in front were it not for a fantastic save by Fernández, pushing the ball over the bar from close range.
With seven minutes left on the clock, Espanyol broke the deadlock thanks to a debut goal from Braithwaite. The Dane snuck his way through the Athletic defence, composed himself and tucked it into the bottom corner to silence the San Mamés faithful.
Athletic Club: Unai Simón, De Marcos, Vivian, Yeray, I. Lekue (Morci 84’), O. Sancet (Vencedor 71’), Vesga, N. Williams (Guruzeta 56’), Muniain, Berenguer, I. Williams (Raúl Garcia 71’).
RCD Espanyol: Á. Fernández, Óscar Gil, Calero (Omar 71’), Cabrera, Brian Oliván, Vini Souza, Edu Expósito (Bare 46’ (Simo 60’)), Darder, Puado (Lazo 71’), Braithwaite (D. Gómez 86’), Joselu.
Goals: Braithwaite 83’
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera