Espanyol played to win and enthusiastically embraced a repairing draw when their match against Atlético was considered lost: from 0-3 it went to 3-3. A result that maintains the Blue and Whites’ hopes of avoiding relegation with two days left to finish the League. It no longer depends solely on their results at Mestalla and against Almería, but also requires the favor of some outside markers that began to play against them with Barça’s defeat in Valladolid and Getafe’s triumph at Villamarín.
Pacheco, Cabrera, Calero (Vinicius, min. 45), César Montes, Óscar Gil (Aleix Vidal, min. 55), Brian (Adrià Pedrosa, min. 78), Darder, Denis Suárez (Edu Expósito, min. 55), Javi Puado (Braithwaite, min. 78), Melamed and Joselu
Ivo Grbic, Witsel, Carrasco (Reguilón, min. 88), Giménez, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Koke (Kondogbia, min. 88), Saúl, De Paul (Pablo Barrios Rivas, min. 77), Griezmann and Correa (Carlos Martin, min 77)
goals 0-1 min. 21: Saul. 0-2 min. 44: Griezmann. 0-3 min. 45: Carrasco. 1-3 min. 64: Cesar Montes. 2-3 min. 76: Joselu. 3-3 min. 79: Vinicius.
Referee Mario Melero Lopez
Yellow cards Aleix Vidal (min. 65), Ivo Grbic (min. 74), Vinicius (min. 79), Carlos Martín (min. 89) and Giménez (min. 93)
The fans seemed exhausted at halftime, when they sang against the board —”Chino go now!”— and at the end gave themselves up to their team that did not stop running with blind faith in the tie, in victory, in permanence in the league. The blue and whites were not successful enough to crown their volume of offensive play and they were penalized for their defensive fragility against a selective and effective Atlético team that still aspires to close the championship ahead of Madrid. The rojiblancos, however, fell asleep before their time, when they saw the game won on the field and on the scoreboard, and they had to wake up to save the tie against Espanyol’s final onslaught.
The journey had been so easy and comfortable for Atlético that they never realized the danger that Espanyol has. From Griezmann’s movements, Simeone’s team generated continuous situations of superiority in the midfield and forcefully hit the goal of an unfortunate Pacheco with shots from Saúl, Griezmann -his goal was validated by the VAR- and Carrasco . The blue and whites, permeable without the ball, fought well with the ball and even finished enough plays to beat Grbic. The series of corner kicks repeatedly demanded the rojiblanco goalkeeper until he gave in to César Montes. From the goal of the central defender, the reaction of Espanyol was triggered, improved with the changes of Luis García.
Based on Griezmann’s movements, Simeone’s team generated situations of great superiority, enough to close the match, even at 1-3. Simeone’s boys abandoned themselves at the wrong time and led to the resurgence of a Espanyol that led a desperate final charge that brought them to the brink of a victory that was considered impossible due to Atlético’s punch. Espanyol, however, never gives up, and even less when their defeat is announced closer, as was seen when they scored three goals in a quarter of an hour against Atlético.
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