Espanyol draw a game with chances, controversy, and goals
One point more. RCD Espanyol de Barcelona came away with a draw after an intense game full of chances and not without controversy. The ‘blanquiazules’ were close to winning, but Víctor Sánchez’ sending off made seeing the game out difficult. The team, a man down, held firm but were unable to prevent Sevilla from equalizing.
Sevilla started as expected. Nervy, but with intensity, speed and strength, and Espanyol were made to work hard to repel the home side’s advances. The ‘blanquiazules’ were not overwhelmed, but neither were they able to create any clear chances at the other end of the pitch. Around the 15-minute mark, in the game’s first clear chance, Ocampos got in behind the ‘blanquiazul’ defence and headed home to put the home side ahead. Taking the lead calmed the home side’s nerves after a few bad results. However, Espanyol grew into the game little by little, with Wu Lei shot and a cross that just evaded Embarba raising anxiety levels in the stands. With the two sides evenly matched, Diego López was forced into a save from En Nesyri, who had all the time in the world to shoot.
Abelardo’s men knew that they couldn’t allow themselves to be overwhelmed, and starting to go forward in greater numbers. Calleri had an effort, but Diego Carlos blocked. The next attack, Calleri fell inside the penalty area, clearly fouled by Sergi Gómez in an incident that left the striker hurt on the floor. Play on; play on, said the referee in the face of Espanyol protests. The game continued for three minutes before he went to check the VAR monitor. Foul outside of the box, and yellow card for the Sevilla defender. Embarba had to wait two more minutes to be able to take the free kick and equalize in front of an agitated home crowd and a home bench that didn’t understand what was going on.
However, there were more complications. Suso’s cross, after the ball had gone out of play, hit the post and almost went in from a rebound. Play on; play on.
The second half was even more intense that the first 45 minutes. Sevilla came out all guns blazing, but they were taken apart by an incisive Calleri pass, which Wu Lei had no trouble tucking away to make it 1-2. With a lot of time left to play, Espanyol continued to control the game, adapting to Lopetegui’s changes. With 20 minutes to go (an eternity), Víctor Sánchez saw his second yellow card of the game and Abelardo had to make changes to adapt. Soon after, a rebound founds its way to the feet of Suso, who struck a placed shot from the edge of the box to even the scores. Abelardo’s side held out until the final whistle despite an onslaught from Sevilla. A good point that keeps Espanyol moving forward.