0-1: Unbeaten run in Europe comes to an end
Espanyol lose against CSKA Moscow and see their unbeaten streak in Europe ended
When the draw for the UEFA Europa League group stage took place in Monaco, many thought that the game between RCD Espanyol de Barcelona and CSKA Moscow would decide who won the group. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Whilst the “blanquiazul” outfit lived up to expectations, the Russian side finished bottom of a relatively navigable group. The Muscovites, who shone last season in the Champions League beating Real Madrid, disappointed in this year’s group stage.
Apart from the money at stake and the honour of both teams, the game predominantly served to give minutes to players who needed to recover a bit of match sharpness. Andrés Prieto finally made his competitive first team debut, whilst Ferreyra and Javi López returned from injury. Piatti was another one of the changes and played a key role in two of the most dangerous attacks of the first half. The Argentinian could have put Espanyol ahead after being put through one on one with the goalkeeper by Ferreyra. With the second chance, he couldn’t get enough power behind his header from a Pedrosa cross. Pablo Machín’s side, who started well, were up against an opponent that kept the ball for long spells, and despite effectively being “on holiday”, stood up to the task reasonably well. Chalov could have scored for the Muscovites, but Andrés saved brilliantly.
Wu Lei came on in the second half for Campuzano, who had required medical assistance in the first half after an arm in the face. The introduction of the Chinese striker, though, had little effect the game which lost a bit of rhythm after the restart. It felt a bit like both teams wanted the game to finish as soon as possible, and the minutes ticked by without anything really happening, apart from a clear chance for Wu Lei and an immediate reply which the visitors somehow failed to put into the back of the net. Espanyol rallied in the final minutes and had a couple of chances for Wu Lei and Pedrosa, without any success. However, it was CSKA who managed to score thanks to a good strike from their best player, Vlasic. A defeat, and an end to the 26-game unbeaten run in Europe.