RCD Espanyol fell to a 2-1 loss away to Girona on Saturday.
Back after the international break with a tip across Catalonia, Diego Martínez fielded a side with returning internationals César Montes, Martin Braithwaite and Joselu. Girona had the home advantage and were showing it early on as they looked to strike first.
Girona’s best chances came through Valentín Castellanos, first drawing a comfortable save from Fernando Pacheco before his shot from the edge of the box went just wide. Rubén Sánchez came closest for Espanyol when he dragged his effort shy of the post, as the sides went into the break all square and goalless.
The second half got off to a challenging start for the Mágico, when Arnau Martínez fired Girona in front with a wondergoal. It gave new motivation for the visitors who went forward with real purpose to find a way back into the match.
Espanyol finally found a way through and equalised thanks to Martin Braithwaite. Javi Puado headed it on into the path of the Dane, who poked it home from close range to give the blanquiazul side a lifeline back into it.
The match was far from over, and it soon took an extra twist when Sergi Gómez was sent off after a VAR check. A series of substitutions later and Girona were awarded a penalty, and it was Christhian Stuani off the bench to convert with two minutes to go.
Nine minutes of stoppage time gave a final lifeline for Espanyol, with the best chance from Joselu’s long range effort going just over the bar. It would not be enough though as Espanyol were left defeated on the road at the Estadi Montilivi.
Girona FC: Gazzaniga, Arnau, S. Bueno, David López, Javi Hernández (Miguel 76’), Romeu, Tsyhankov, Iván Martín (Stuani 84’), Borja García, Toni Villa (Riquelme 69’), Castellanos.
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Rubén S., Montes, Sergi Gómez, Óscar Gil (Pierre-Gabriel 90+3’), Vini Souza, Gragera (Denis Suárez 62’ (Nico M.R 90+3’)), Darder, Braithwaite (K. Bare 85’), Joselu, Puado (Calero 85’).
Referee: Miguel Ángel Ortiz Arias
Goals: 1-0 Arnau 53’; 1-1 Braithwaite 74’, 2-1 Stuani (pen) 88’
Bookings: Romeu 24’, Iván Martín 35’, Castellanos 71’, Arnau 90+3’; Denis Suárez 83’, Calero 87’
Red cards: Sergi Gómez 83’