RCD Espanyol B earned a hard-fought victory as they beat CD Ibiza Islas Pitiusas 1-0 on Saturday.
Looking to pick themselves up after a first defeat of the season to Hércules, Espanyol were back at the Ciutat Esportiva Dani Jarque in front of a strong blanquiazul support.
Visitors CD Ibiza had the first chance of the match when Marc Mas hit a low shot towards Ángel Fortuño. Abde Damar saw his shot flash just wide after a decent team attack, which would become a common theme as the hosts searched for a goal.
The defining moment of the half – and in fact the match – came when Jaume Villar was sent off for a frustrated foul on Javier Lancho. Not only did it raise the tension at the Ciutat Esportiva, but it provided the opportunity for Espanyol to seize the momentum.
They almost did just that in stoppage time at the end of the first half, but Abde’s effort cannoned agonisingly off the post. Nonetheless, the foundations were laid and the match was set in the favour of the young pericos going into the final 45 minutes.
Despite the one-man advantage, Espanyol could not break down a resilient and stubborn Ibiza. Nabil Touaizi was denied at close range by a solid save from Marcos Contreras, then Kenneth came close after combining well with Raúl Dacosta.
Espanyol finally got their break when Kenneth won a penalty, brought down in the box by substitute Omar De la Cruz. Captain Daniel Villahermosa took responsibility and, following a lengthy delay, smashed it into the top corner in superb style.
It was all about defending the lead from then on, and Espanyol have goalkeeper Fortuño to thank for that. He made a string of fantastic saves, including a point-blank range backheel, to see out the win and earn a massive three points for Luis Blanco’s boys.
RCD Espanyol B: Ángel Fortuño, A. Pérez, Recasens (Gorjón 73’), Villahermosa, Becerra (Rivarés 73’), Nabil (Bakary Cissé 83’), Dacosta (A. Roca 73’), Abde, Lancho, Joan Puig (Kenneth 58’), Roger Martínez.
CD Ibiza Islas Pitiusas: M. Contreras, Adell, Villar, Guzmán (De la Cruz 73’), Bernal (Ballesteros 80’), A. Sánchez, Mas (M. García 80’), López, Barrero (Peñafort 90’), Espínola, Pomar.
Referee: David Ruíz Esquinas
Goals: Villahermosa 79’ (pen).
Bookings: Villahermosa 22’ Nabil 77’; Adell 33’, De la Cruz 77’.
Red cards: Villar 38’.
Attendance: Approx. 400