RCD Espanyol lost 2-1 away from home to Real Valladolid on Sunday.
For the trip to the Estadio José Zorrilla, the standout name on Diego Martínez’s teamsheet was Joselu, returning to the starting XI for the first time in five weeks.
Real Valladolid were straight at it, seeing Cyle Larin’s goal ruled out for offside then Jawad El Yamiq heading it just wide. The visitors were then forced into an early reshuffle; Brian Oliván was brought down by a heavy challenge and could not continue, as Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel replaced the injured man inside the opening 10 minutes.
Sergi Darder’s attempt from outside the box was denied by Sergio Asenjo, and the chance for Espanyol was followed by the opener for Valladolid through Iván Sánchez. Javi Puado had a golden chance before the break but was unlucky to see it cannon off the crossbar, leaving Espanyol behind at half-time and needing a comeback.
Martínez made a second change for the second half, with Rubén Sánchez coming on for fresh legs on either defensive flank. Though they looked to be closer to the equaliser, those hopes were dashed when substitute Álvaro Aguado doubled Valladolid’s advantage.
Espanyol continued to push and finally found a bit of luck; Darder played it into Martin Braithwaite who did not hesitate to fire it home for a vital goal. With seven minutes including stoppage time to go, the pericos went all out for the equaliser. But it proved to be too little too late as Espanyol were defeated in Valladolid.
Real Valladolid: S. Asenjo, Fresneda, Joaquín, El Yamiq, Escudero (L. Olaza 76’), Roque Mesa (Aguado 60’), Hongla, Plata, I. Sánchez (D. Machis 65’), Plano (Sergio León 76’), Larin (Monchu 76’).
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Óscar Gil (Rubén S. 46’), C. Montes, S. Gómez, B. Oliván (Pierre-Gabriel 9’ (Edu Expósito 81’)), Vini Souza, Darder, Denis Suárez (Nico M.R. 71’), Braithwaite, Joselu, Puado (Lazo 81’).
Referee: Valentín Pizarro Gómez
Goals: 1-0 I. Sánchez 25’; 2-0 Aguado 62’, 2-1 Braithwaite 87’;
Bookings: Roque Mesa 28’, Escudero 44’, M. Hongla 45+1’; Óscar Gil 24’, Joselu 75’