RCD Espanyol came away with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win at home to Elche CF on Saturday.
Luis Miguel Ramis oversaw his first game as men’s first team coach at the Stage Front Stadium, in search of the three points on his home debut. After a cagey start with some controversial officiating, Espanyol struck first when Martin Braithwaite headed in Brian Oliván’s cross from inside the six-yard box, sending the Temple into raptures.
Though the hosts were in front, Elche were still creating chances and pressing high into the final third. But the Mágico kept pushing and made it two, again from Braithwaite who broke through and fired it into the roof of the net. The Dane had a brace in quick succession and Elche were behind but certainly not out of it.
In an even affair under the Saturday night lights, Espanyol had done well to take their chances and go into the break with a two-goal advantage. They started the second half strong too, with Edu Expósito forcing a good save early on from Miguel San Román.
There were chances after the break but less clear-cut ones, with both teams still fighting to get something from it. Espanyol’s backline was being tested to defend their clean sheet, while the forward were exploiting the gaps but not finding the target.
Substitute Keita Balde had the best chance of the half when his shot came agonisingly off the post, before Fernando Pacheco made a great save to deny Elche’s Borja Garcés. Espanyol fought hard and defended their lead to seal the three points, a huge confidence boost for players and fans alike ahead of the final stretch before the winter break.