Espanyol top Alaves 2-1 to keep European dreams alive
RCD Espanyol's midfielder Adria Pedrosa (2-L) celebrates with his teammates Spaniard Sergi Darder (L) and Chinese Wu Lei (R) after scoring against Deportivo Alaves during their LaLiga soccer game at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella-El Prat, Barcelona, northeastern Spain, April 13, 2019. EPA-EFE/ Toni Albir
RCD Espanyol's midfielder Adria Pedrosa (C) scores past Deportivo Alaves' goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco (R) during their LaLiga soccer game at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella-El Prat, Barcelona, northeastern Spain, April 13, 2019. EPA-EFE/Toni Albir
RCD Espanyol's Chinese striker Wu Lei in action during a LaLiga soccer match against Deportivo Alaves at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella-El Prat, Barcelona, northeastern Spain, April 13, 2019. EPA-EFE/Toni Albir
Cornellà de Llobregat (Spain), Apr 13 (efe-epa).- Espanyol on Saturday earned an important 2-1 home win against Alaves to keep their European dreams alive at the cost of Alaves.
The Barcelona-based team took the lead in the 19th minute on the strength of a goal by Adria Pedrosa, while Alaves’ Victor Laguardia made it 2-0 with an own goal.
Alaves pulled one back thanks to Jonathan Calleri, and although they put the home side under pressure over the final stretch, they were unable to take a point home.
The visiting team had a defensive approach, resulting in a close game during the opening minutes.
A set piece by Jony Rodriguez was the brightest moment for Alaves over the first ten minutes that also saw Chinese player Wu Lei set up for a one-on-one situation against the goalkeeper, but without any changes on the scoreboard on either occasion.
Espanyol played high, but they could not get past the defense line, expect for a few occasions, such as the one led by Borja Iglesias in the 14th minute and posed danger at Alaves’ goal.
A few minutes later, Iglesias, nicknamed Panda, scored what could have be the opening goal, but it was called offside by the referee.
Their persistence, however, paid off eventually as Pedrosa collected a great assist and fired a shot past the goalkeeper in the 19th minute.
Pedrosa, who was criticized by fans after exchanging shirts with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi after the last city derby, celebrated the goal pointing to the club badge on his kit.
The following minutes, however, brought bad news for Espanyol as Roberto Rosales was forced off the pitch with an injury. Javi Lopez took his place.
At the other end of the field, Alaves had to apply high pressure and Manu Garcia tested Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez on several occasions, but the latter maintained his team’s 1-0 lead till the end of the first half.
After the intermission, Espanyol aggressively sought out the second goal, which they achieved in 48th minute when Laguardia, instead of clearing off a cross by Iglesias, put the ball in his own net.
The referee had to consult the Video assistant referee before allowing the goal.
With a 2-0 lead, Espanyol’s players started to relax but which was when they conceded a goal in the 56th minute by sent in by Calleri.
Alaves went for the equalizer, seizing control of the game for a few minutes, before Espanyol regained balance, fending off several attempts by the visitors to draw level.