2-2: The wait goes on
RCD Espanyol held to home draw by Valencia
RCD Espanyol were held to a 2-2 home draw by Valencia on Sunday.
Diego Martínez’s men returned to the RCDE Stadium following the international break, searching for that elusive first win of the season. Javi Puado also marked his 100th blanquiazul appearance in front of the fans before kick-off.
Espanyol started well as they controlled the ball from the start, but it was Valencia with the chances. Samuel Lino was denied on the break by Álvaro Fernández, while Edinson Cavani sent his effort over the bar.
Martin Braithwaite recovered the ball and hit the visiting defence on a one-man break, but Giorgi Mamardashvili made a solid save to deny him as it remained goalless at the break.
Valencia came out all guns firing in the second half, and it would result in them breaking the deadlock through Gabriel Paulista’s towering header off the inside of the post.
But Espanyol would not need long to pull it back, equalising just three minutes later. Joselu controlled the ball perfectly inside the box, and with little hesitation curled it gorgeously past Mamardashvili for his fourth goal of the season.
The hosts came agonisingly close to instantly turning it around, as Braithwaite’s shot was saved before Sergi Darder hit the bar. Fernández then pulled off an excellent save at the other end as both sides fought for another goal.
Suddenly, the match was turned on its head when Darder’s shot wrongfooted the goalkeeper, flew in and sent the blanquiazul faithful into delirium. Valencia’s Marcos André was then sent off for violent conduct, having just come on 12 minutes prior.
That player advantage would not last for long, as a VAR decision saw Braithwaite dismissed in a similar manner in stoppage time. Espanyol now had a matter of minutes to hold on, with Fernández saving the ball on the line having momentarily lost control.
But with 96 minutes on the clock, Eray Cömert sent an ambitious looping ball up in the air. Fernández looked to have it covered, but it dropped into the top corner as Valencia snatched a draw and the wait for Espanyol’s first home win goes on.
RCD Espanyol: Álvaro Fernández, Calero (Nico M.R 74’), S. Gómez, Cabrera, B. Oliván, Edu Expósito (K. Bare 62’), Darder (Pol Lozano 87’), Vini Souza (Simo 87’), Puado (Aleix V.C 46’), Joselu, Braithwaite.
Valencia: Mamardashvili, Thierry R., Diakhaby, Gabriel Paulista (Cömert 74’), A. Almeida (Nico 74’), Hugo G., Ilaix Moriba (Hugo Duro 84’), S. Castillejo (Kluivert 46’), Cavani (Marcos André 74’), S. Lino.
Referee: Valentín Pizarro Gómez
Goals: 0-1 Gabriel Paulista 53’, 1-1 Joselu 56’, 2-1 Darder 83’, 2-2 Cömert 90+6’.
Bookings: Darder 58’, B. Oliván 76’; Diakhaby 90+8’.
Red cards: Braithwaite 90+2’; Marcos André 85’.