RCD Espanyol were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Elche on Sunday.
Espanyol went into their third match in a week looking to make it consecutive wins at the RCDE Stadium. Edu Expósito returned to the starting lineup in the midfield three, with the hosts looking to avenge themselves for midweek defeat last time out.
The hosts had a difficult start when Vini Souza was booked inside four minutes before Elche opened the scoring. Pere Milla found himself free on the edge of the box, guiding his header clear of Benjamin Lecomte to stun the Espanyol faithful.
Espanyol’s first chance came through Martin Braithwaite, whose header zipped just shy of the bottom corner. But they would equalise through an excellent piece of play by Edu Expósito, weaving his way through the defence and setting up Javi Puado for the leveller.
Brian Oliván had a solid attempt on goal when his long shot flew just over. Elche looked to be down to 10 men when Helibelton Palacios was sent off for a last-ditch foul, but a VAR check reversed the decision and awarded him a yellow card instead.
With the score level at the break, Espanyol piled on the pressure in search of the lead. Oliván was keen to get on the scoresheet as he sent a low drive goalbound, forcing a solid save from Édgar Badía.
Espanyol turned it around and took the lead when Óscar Gil burst down the right flank and sent an accurate low ball into the box. There was Braithwaite to guide it into the bottom corner, giving the hosts the breakthrough they had been after.
Joselu had the chance to wrap it up when Badía gave the ball away outside his box, but the goalkeeper recovered to palm away the striker’s header. That allowed Elche to capitalise and draw level, as Captain Gonzalo Verdú scored at the near post late on.
Espanyol once again pushed for the winner and had a penalty shout denied late on. Nico Melamed’s shot cannoned off the crossbar with the last kick of the match, but it was not enough as it ended all square at the RCDE Stadium.
RCD Espanyol: Lecomte, Óscar Gil (Calero 72’), S. Gómez, Cabrera, B. Oliván, Edu Expósito (K. Bare 58’), Vini Souza, Darder (Nico M.R 83’), Braithwaite (Lazo 72’), Joselu, Puado (Aleix V.C 58’).
Elche CF: Édgar Badía, H. Palacios (Josan 46’), Roco, Gonzalo Verdú, R.P. Bigas, Collado (Fidel 46’ (T. Morente 68’)), Raúl Guti (Gumbau 56’), Mascarell, C. Clerc. Lucas Boyé (Roger Ms. 83’).
Referee: José Luis Munuera Montero
Goals: 0-1 Pere Milla 11’, 1-1 Puado 23’; 2-1 Braithwaite 67’, 2-2 Gonzalo Verdú 82’
Bookings: Vini Souza 4’, Aleix V.C 88’; H. Palacios 45’, Lucas Boyé 49’, Mascarell 78’.