A bad start to the second-half ended Espanyol’s hopes of a win
It seems almost unbelievable. Another home game without a win at the RCDE Stadium. Too many individual errors in such a tricky situation cost us dearly. The “blanquiazules” took the lead, but Osasuna overturned the deficit in less than 5 minutes. Mocayola’s goal and Torres’ penalty killed the game in the closing minutes, rendering Calleri’s late goal no more than a consolation.
This was a game we had to win. There was no other option, as RCD Espanyol’s own coach, Pablo Machín, stated before the game. The “blanquiazul” side’s poor start against Getafe was blamed on nerves. This time, they started more confidently, though still struggling to settle into the rhythm of the game. Osasuna, who have accumulated a respectable number of points for this stage of the season, decided to press high up the field when Espanyol had possession. The two sides played with intensity and work-rate, without creating real chances at either end. That changed, though, with a VAR intervention in favour of the home side. Pedrosa’s cross, headed towards goal by Wu Lei, struck Roncaglia’s arm. After some delay, Melero López viewed a replay of the incident and signaled a penalty, and a yellow card for the Osasuna defender.
The players and fans celebrated the goal wildly. It was only the second time this season that Machín’s side had managed to take the lead at the RCDE Stadium. A good situation to be in against an opponent like Osasuna. Espanyol could have gone two ahead after an intelligent bit of play from Campuzano, but Pedrosa headed well over. Before the break, Diego López and the crossbar between them managed to prevent Robert Torres from equalizing.
Everything changed after half time. Rubén García equalized just 30 seconds after the restart and Chimy Ávila put the visitors ahead, taking advantage of a loose back pass from Bernardo. All the good work in the first half undone in less than 5 minutes. Roncaglia’s sending off restored a bit of Espanyol optimism, with the team seemingly still reeling from the terrible start to the second half. A Calleri effort, saved by Juan Pérez, and another from Bernardo gave the team a bit of energy. Machín decided to take off a defender to give the team more attacking options. To no avail. Osasuna were well organized, and had no trouble repelling Espanyol’s long, floated balls. In truth, the home side didn’t show too much creativity in the final third. The opposite. Moncayola put the game to bed after another error by the home side, and Robert Torres added insult to injury making it 1-4 from the penalty spot. Calleri restored some degree of pride, scoring in the final seconds to make it 2-4 at full time.