0-2: A triumph of patience
Espanyol progress in the cup after overcoming UD Sanse in a hard-fought game
Abelardo predicted it, and so did the locals that gathered at the windows of the apartments that surround Sanse’s stadium. You have to grit your teeth, be prepared to fight. These games are never easy. Even less so against against such a physically strong side. Sanse’s formula is the ABC of football. Organised blocks, effort, solidarity and fighting to keep out each attack as if it were the last. Through this alone they were able to shut down the game, preventing Espanyol from getting comfortable for even a minute. Through this alone they were also put the “blanquiazul” goal under one pressure, kept out well by Andrés Prieto.
In any case, it was clear that Abelardo’s side would have to work hard, forget about tricks and flicks and be patient. This attitude paid dividends when, after a lot of hard work, Iturraspe had the first chance for the visitors with a long shot that brushed the outside of the right post as it flew past Irureta, the home side’s veteran goalkeeper who was outstanding in his spell at Eibar. However, it was not until the final minute of the first half that Espanyol’s patience paid off. Calleri chased Melendo’s long ball, and, refusing to give up, bundled it over the line to give Espanyol the lead.
Espanyol were aware that this lead was slim and in the second half, stepped up the tempo. The half had barely begun when Pedrosa tested Irureta. And soon after Wu Lei found a chance out of nowhere but was only able to direct his shot straight at the goalkeeper. The sending-off of Pipe Sáez gave the “blanquiazules” a numerical advantage but the home side refused to give up in their search for an equaliser.
RDT’s much-awaited introduction was a catalyst in attack, in three minutes creating two clear chances saved by the home goalkeeper who made himself the home side’s hero shortly after saving spectacularly from David López.
However, there was little he could do when Pedrosa put in a good cross, and RDT showed his striker’s instinct to make it 2-0. Job done, and now we wait to learn our next opponent.