Espanyol drew in Almería after a match the white and blues controlled, and could have clinched in the second half
The two best teams in the league came face to face. Vis-a-vis and up for the clash, both teams knew how much was at stake tonight. Of course it was about three points, but this win could tilt the balance to one side or the other and turn the next few weeks into a trickle of optimism. At the end of the match, Almería and Espanyol ended up with a draw due to the mutual respect of both teams on the pitch, and the result has left them closer to their objectives with seven matches left to play. As the Almería manager stated, he the accepted responsibility of their turn to lead the promotion zone, and didn’t want to repeat what happened last season.
In a match determined by mutual respect, there were three key plays that could have changed the final outcome on the pitch. These three plays were controversial and took place inside the home side’s box. In the first play, the VAR acted with the same craftiness as Morlanes after touching the ball with his hand. The midfielder took camouflage among his team mates with a guilty look of “uh-oh, I won’t get away with this if the referee consults the monitor.” In the second play, Embarba's fall inside the box didn’t even attract the VAR's attention, and in the third play, there was no need for the camera room nor VAR replays because it was so clear that Raúl de Tomás (RDT) was pushed. The white and blue striker put power behind the penalty kick, but Makaridze read it well. It could have been the comeback to determine the match, but it was left open towards the end due to the uncertainty of an even scoreline.
Before all that, you could see two teams that were using up their attacking qualities and strived in defence to frustrate the continual movements of the forwards. Espanyol were very reliable and firm in doing so and gave the impression that they were never in any danger. Sadiq took advantage of a defence-splitting pass and was forced to use his large physique to jostle with Calero then win the ball before Diego López came off his line. That goal put Almería ahead and left the match in their favour. But Espanyol were quick to reply and try again. The white and blues managed to equalise eight minutes later after a brilliant move by RDT who gift-wrapped a pass to Dimata who could tap it into the back of the net. The level scoreline opened up the match again and Espanyol demonstrated that they were the stronger side coming into the definitive stage of the season. But they weren’t able to capitalise on their opportunities this time.