RCD Espanyol fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Rayo Vallecano on Friday night.
The Pericos were back at the RCDE Stadium for the first time this season, having kicked off the new LaLiga campaign away to Celta. The game in Vigo saw Espanyol snatch a last-minute equaliser coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
Espanyol had the first chance of the game, as a loose header from a corner fell perfectly to Sergi Gómez who headed it just wide. An aggressive start from Rayo Vallecano was soon punished when Florian Lejeune received two bookings in two minutes, leaving the visitors down to 10 men before the dust had even settled.
However, Espanyol had a player of their own sent off before they could capitalise on the one-man advantage, when Gómez was given his marching orders following a VAR check. Coach Diego Martínez sacrificed forward Nico Melamed to restore his back four, whereas Rayo adapted to their new three-man defence.
Rayo took the lead on the verge of half-time, the second consecutive game Espanyol had conceded late in the first half. A clever free-kick saw Isi Palazón play a one-two and guide it into the bottom corner to put the Franjirrojos ahead going into the break.
The second half started with both sides coming close to a goal. Sergio Camello was free in the box but failed to convert for Rayo, before Joselu had a chance of his own for the hosts.
Rayo added a second just shy of the hour mark, with an effective team move putting it on a plate for Pathé Ciss to tap home from close range. It put the visitors in control with a comfortable lead, while leaving Espanyol to try and restore a two-goal deficit for the second game in a row.
Espanyol did push on for a way back into the game, but they would hit the post three times through Edu Expósito, Javi Puado and Joselu. Rayo substitute Radamel Falcao had a golden chance to seal the game once and for all, but his chipped attempt was tame.
Rayo saw out the win in the end, leaving Espanyol to rue their missed chances and begin their campaign at home with a disappointing defeat.
RCD Espanyol: Lecomte, Óscar Gil, Cabrera, Joselu, Darder, Vinicius Souza, Oliván (Koleosho 77’), Expósito (Baré 77’), Nico (Calero 34’), Sergi Gómez, Ruben (Puado 64‘).
Rayo Vallecano: Dimitrievski, Fran Garcia, Catena, Isi (Sánchez 57’), Oscar Trejo (Óscar 57’), Unai Lopez (M. Suárez 84’), Álvaro (Nteka 84’), Lejeune, Balliu, Pathé Ciss, Camello (Falcao 74’).
Referee: Jorge Figueroa Vázquez