RDT puts Espanyol ahead and Gassama equalizes with a penalty in the final minutes
Today's game, at Fernando Torres, has shown all the teams in the league what is in store for them when they face Fuenlabrada. Everyone knew how intense the locals would be, with their strong physique and high-paced play. Any doubts about that were dispelled in today's 90 minutes. They've been playing the same way for a long time. They have been undefeated at home since March, just before the pandemic stopped fans going to matches. Last year, all three teams who were promoted were beaten here: Huesca, Cádiz and Elche, and this season is no different. The stadium is still a fortress (with or without its fans).
Vicente Moreno called the shots the day before and it ended up going as he'd predicted. In the first 30 seconds, Cabrera had to save a shot from Feuillassier after he went past Diego López. They instilled fear right from the start. The locals knew that the only way to beat the league leaders was to make things as uncomfortable as possible until they couldn't take it anymore.
Espanyol had a hard time shaking off the pressure and getting past the local defence. Gassama hit the crossbar in the middle of the first half. That was the warning the Blue and Whites needed to really step up their game. Embarba took up the challenge and, after some excellent individual play, sent the ball towards RDT. Glauder couldn't clear it and the waiting Madrid striker simply had to slot it into the back of the net. The linesman immediately called him for offside. But watching from all angles of the live, an offside call didn't seem plausible. The VAR proved that the Blue and Whites were right to complain, and with that, they took the lead and calmed the locals down.
Shortly afterwards, Vargas managed to get past everyone in his path in some fine individual play, but his final shot brushed the post and went wide. It was a quality effort, but he had nothing to show for it. Just before the end of the first half, and again soon after the start of the second half, Dídac also had opportunities.
Now in control of the game, Espanyol felt safe in defence and sought to increase their lead. A couple of long shots from RDT, a few attempts from Wu Lei and an opportunity for Embarba to round off the match. But football has a way of turning things around when you least expect it. There was an altercation involving Gassama and Cabrera and Diego López resulting in the attacker falling in the box. The referee called for a penalty and the Fuenla striker put away the final shot of the game for a draw. It was a bitter ending for the Catalans and an undoubtable sense of satisfaction and happiness for the locals.