RCD Espanyol came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Atlético de Madrid on Wednesday.
For the visit of Atlético to the RCDE Stadium, Luis García made one change with César Montes coming in alongside Fernando Calero, who was making his 100th appearance in the blanquiazul shirt. They almost made a rapid start when Nico Melamed broke through twice, both times denied by Ivo Grbić in an encouraging opening period.
Despite having the better moments in the early stages, Atleti managed to take the lead with Saúl’s tight finish. Espanyol were not letting up, growing into the match and showing their strength going forward. A penalty shout among a goalmouth scramble amounted to nothing, then Joselu’s near post effort was smothered by the keeper.
Espanyol were positive going forward but needed to be careful on the backfoot, and Atlético once again worked their way through, and Antoine Griezmann scored in additional time at the end of the first half. For all of their efforts, the hosts found themselves with a two-goal deficit to make up for after the break.
It went from bad to worse as the second half got underway and Yannick Carrasco added another for the visitors inside the opening minute. Espanyol were three goals down with less than half an hour to play, but they kept going as César Montes sparked hope by heading home to put the hosts on the scoresheet.
Espanyol then won a penalty when Javi Puado was brought down by goalkeeper Grbić, as Joselu stepped up to convert a perfect penalty into the top corner. They were not done and now had the momentum and belief to take something from a match they seemed down and out in.
With just over ten minutes left to play, Aleix Vidal sent a superb cross into the box for Vini Souza to power it home with his head, his first goal for Espanyol in the most dramatic fashion. Bedlam at the RCDE Stadium, a fantastic comeback and a moment of pure euphoria for the pericos who have suffered time after time.
The Mágico were pushing for the win, albeit with Atleti doing the same and threatening once again to take the three points. An intense finish saw Espanyol hold on for a vital point which keeps them alive, ahead of two finals away to Valencia and at home to Almería on the final day of the LaLiga season.
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Óscar Gil (Aleix V.C 55’), Cabrera, C. Montes, B. Oliván (Pedrosa 78’), Calero (Vini Souza 46’), Darder, Denis Suárez (Edu Expósito 55’), Nico M.R., Puado (Braithwaite 78’), Joselu
Atlético de Madrid: Grbić, Molina L., J. M. Giménez, Witsel, M. Hermoso, Saúl, R. De Paul (Barrios 77’), Koke (Kondogbia 88’), Carrasco (Reguilón 88’), Griezmann, Correa (C. Martín 77’)
Referee: Mario Melero López
Goals: 0-1 Saúl 21’, 0-2 Griezmann 44’; 0-3 Carrasco 46’, 1-3 C. Montes 64’, 2-3 Joselu (pen) 76’, 3-3 Vini Souza 79’
Bookings: Aleix V.C. 66’, Vini Souza 80’; Grbić 75’, C. Martín 89’, J. M. Giménez 90+3’