RCD Espanyol lost 3-1 to UD Almería at the Power Horse Stadium on Friday night.
The final match of the first half of the season was a trip down to Andalusia against an evenly matched Almería side. Diego Martínez opted for the same lineup that defeated Real Betis last week, as Espanyol searched for a third consecutive LaLiga victory.
A positive start for the visitors was contrasted by some serious chances for Almería, with Adrián Embarba firing some testing shots including one off the post. Álvaro Fernández then made a great reaction save from close range, denying Sergio Akieme amid a scramble inside the box.
Almería’s persistence in front of goal would pay off though when Luis Suárez gave them the lead with his finish on the turn. Espanyol would come closest to an equaliser in stoppage time at the end of the first half, as Aleix Vidal’s effort was saved down low by Fernando Martínez.
Behind at the break, Martínez made a double change with Rubén Sánchez and Edu Expósito coming on for the pericos. They should have had a penalty straight away when Expósito was brought down in the box, but VAR ruled that Joselu was offside in the build-up despite the clear foul.
A frustrating period followed for the visitors; several yellow cards were dished out and no decisions were going their way. It was capped off by Almería adding a second goal, even after Fernández made a double save as Léo Baptistão scored on the third attempt.
It would go from bad to worse when Almería made it three through Francisco Portillo, but Joselu would pull one back when he converted Rubén’s cross for his 11th league goal. It ended in a disappointing night for Espanyol who fell to a tough defeat on the road, concluding January and the first half of the season.
UD Almería: Fernando C.S, Pozo, R. Ely, Babic, Akieme, Robertone (Samú 87’), De La Hoz, Melero (Puigmal 82’), L. Baptistão (Eguaras 82’), L. Suárez (El Bilal 72’), Embarba (Portillo 72’).
RCD Espanyol: Á. Fernández, Óscar Gil (Rubén S. 46’), Cabrera, C. Montes, B. Oliván, Darder, Vini Souza (Lazo 81’), Aleix V.C (Edu Expósito 46’), Puado (D. Gómez 81’), Braithwaite (Nico M.R 69’), Joselu.
Referee: Javier Iglesias Villanueva
Goals: 1-0 L. Suárez 21’; 2-0 L. Baptistão 61’, 3-0 Portillo 77’, 3-1 Joselu 90+3’
Bookings: Robertone 42’, Portillo 78’, Eguaras 90+7’; Óscar Gil 44’, Vini Souza 54’, Puado 57’