Espanyol deliver versus R. Zaragoza and return to the highest level
Mission accomplished. Espanyol came onto the pitch prepared to clinch the promotion in La Romareda stadium and managed to achieve their objective. Vicente Moreno’s side didn’t play their best of matches, but it was enough to take the point they needed versus R. Zaragoza, which didn’t want to put on too much of a show either.
The truth is that Espanyol tried to take the initiative of a match that seemed like it was not going to easy at all from the start, and under some suffocating sunshine that was more typical of the end of June. The white and blues had to graft hard for the point they needed. Zaragoza made it clear they were not going to be an easy rival. The first opportunity to put the ball past the home side keeper Cristian Álvarez was a faint shot by Puado, and Diego López had to stop a couple of rebounds inside the area perpetrated by Iván Azón and Bermejo.
Despite those occasions, Espanyol put the home side’s defence into some real tight spots when they found some gaps. Darder's slalom run from midfield ended with a shot that just missed the inside the post. Minutes later, Embarba had a couple of chances from direct free kicks. The first one ended up in Cristian deflecting the ball with some trouble, and then the Zaragoza keeper made an outstanding save after the second free kick when the ball was heading for the top corner. But before that, Espanyol protested several times about a clear handball incident in the home side’s box, but the referee didn’t even consult the VAR.
The first attempt in the second half was a deflected shot by Eguaras from outside the box, to which Embarba replied with another direct free kick. Shortly after, Puado had another one-on-one with Cristian who denied the white and blues from glory.
The minutes were passing by without either side taking any chances. The point seemed good, and that was how it ended. Espanyol return to the first division within a year of losing the category. Vicente Moreno’s side has achieved it because his team has been the best this season. The
pericos (budgerigars) are back!