RCD Espanyol were held to a 3-3 draw by Almería at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday.
The final match of the LaLiga season was a chance for Espanyol to play for pride, while Almería were fighting to survive in the top flight. Luis García made several rotations which included a first league start of the campaign for Joan García in goal.
Needing a result to stay up, Almería struck first on 10 minutes through El Bilal Touré. But Espanyol would instantly respond; the ball fell nicely to Javi Puado at the near post, and he struck a perfect curling shot into the top corner for the equaliser.
A stop-start affair meant neither side could get in on goal, with the closest being an attempt for the visitors denied by Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel’s headed clearance. All square at the break, Pierre-Gabriel would be influential at the other end, getting into the back post to squeeze it in at the near post for his first Espanyol goal.
Almería were not giving up and equalised through Adrián Embarba, levelling it up and keeping them up with that result. A few changes from either side freshened it up, and Espanyol restored their lead thanks to a wonderful solo effort from 18-year-old Luca Koleosho, off the bench and converting for his first senior goal for Espanyol.
The hosts had the lead but still had work to do to see out the three points, while visitors Almería were giving it everything they could to save themselves. They were giving a lifeline late on when VAR awarded them a penalty, and Embarba scored from the spot to equalise once again for Almería.
Ending all square, the point was enough for Almería to secure their survival, while Espanyol could not bow out with a victory at home. It brings an end to a difficult season which sees Espanyol relegated to the second division, and while they go down for now, they will give it everything because a perico never gives up.
RCD Espanyol: Joan García, Pierre-Gabriel (Óscar Gil 63’), C. Montes, Calero (Simo 46’), B. Oliván, Darder (Koleosho 63’), Denis Suárez, Edu Expósito (K. Bare 59’), Nico M.R. (Vini Souza 78’), Puado, Braithwaite
UD Almería: Fernando C.S., Alex Pozo, R. Ely, Babic, Centelles (Akieme 75’), Melero (C. De La Hoz 64’), Samu (Dyego Sousa 75’), Robertone, Lazaro (Portillo 64’), El Bilal (Ramazani 83’), Embarba
Referee: César Soto Grado
Goals: 0-1 El Bilal 10’, 1-1 Puado 13’; 1-2 Pierre-Gabriel 49’, 2-2 Embarba 58’, 3-2 Koleosho 73’, 3-3 Embarba (pen) 87’
Bookings: C. Montes 40’; Samu 45’, Ramazani 87’