RCD Espanyol were defeated 4-2 by Villarreal on Thursday.
Luis García’s men travelled to the Estadio de la Cerámica in search of more points, having picked one up last time out against Cádiz. Fernando Calero came into defence and Keidi Bare made his first start in five months, coincidentally in the reverse fixture against opponents Villarreal.
Yeremy Pino’s effort was not far off the target in the first chance of the evening, as Fernando Pacheco was then called into action to deny Dani Parejo and Giovani Lo Celso. The spotlight was on the Espanyol goalkeeper, even being on the receiving end of Nico Jackson’s late challenge before making another top save from Étienne Capoue.
The Mágico came close with a double chance, when Keidi Bare’s effort was saved by Pepe Reina before Martin Braithwaite’s rebound was blocked. The opener would come from the resulting corner, when the ball fell to Javi Puado who struck it superbly into the top corner right on the stroke of half-time, taking a huge lead into the break.
Villarreal began the second half resurgent and did not take long to draw level as Étienne Capoue scored from range. Darder tried a long shot of his own, but Reina made a strong save down low.
It soon got worse for Espanyol when VAR awarded Villarreal a penalty for a handball by César Montes. Although Pacheco saved Parejo’s penalty onto the post, the rebound fell into the path of the captain to tap it in for the lead for Villarreal.
Espanyol did not let up and kept fighting for a way back into the match. A mistake from Pau Torres allowed Braithwaite a clear run at goal, and he squared it to Joselu to beat Reina and equalise for the Mágico.
The visitors were right in it and were fighting for a result, but Villarreal restored their advantage through Jackson and then wrapped up the victory with Capoue’s second goal. Edu Expósito was then sent off deep into stoppage time as Espanyol ended the evening with 10 men, falling to a crushing defeat at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Villarreal CF: Reina, Foyth, Mandi, Pau, Alberto M. (Pedraza 90+1’), Parejo, Capoue, Chukwueze, Lo Celso (Terrats 90+4’), Yeremy, N. Jackson (Baena 90+4’)
RCD Espanyol: Pacheco, Calero (Simo 76’), S. Gómez, C. Montes, Óscar Gil, Vini Souza (Nico M.R. 85’), K. Bare (Edu Expósito 67’), S. Darder, Puado (Pedrosa 85’), Braithwaite, Joselu
Referee: César Sato Grado
Goals: 0-1 Puado 45’; 1-1 Capoue 53’, 2-1 Parejo 63’, 2-2 Joselu 73’, 3-2 N. Jackson 80’, 4-2 Capoue 90+2’
Bookings: N. Jackson 16’, Yeremy 58’; Calero 40’, Puado 58’, Montes 62’, Óscar Gil 77’
Red cards: Edu Expósito 90+5’