Fortunately for the Spaniards, those two defeats did not affect the final classification, but they became a lesson that Espanyol has not been able to take advantage of in its course to return to the top category. The fact that Rayo’s warnings were serious is shown by the fact that if he had not missed the five points he lost this year in the 90th minute, Espanyol could still be dreaming of a hypothetical European classification. That the winner of the King’s Cup final that is being played this Saturday would end the League in European positions would allow the seventh-placed player in the League, currently Villarreal, to go to the Conference League.
The European train, however, has escaped for Espanyol, which has lost five very valuable points in four games with a very cruel outcome against three rivals. Whether it was defending punctual actions, fatigue, controversial refereeing decisions, or simply the success of rivals, the face or cross did not smile at the white-and-blues. Vicente Moreno’s men succumbed in the two clashes against Atlético de Madrid by a goal from Lemar in the 99th minute, first, and by a more than dubious penalty converted by Carrasco in the 100th minute, later (1-2). Two excessive added times that cost Espanyol two points when he had the reigning league champions against the ropes.
The outcome against Barça and Real Sociedad was also cruel. Luuk de Jong, from the head, deprived the white-and-blues in the 96th minute of a victory sung in the Barcelona derby. Alexander Isak, through a again dubious penalty, scored a point for Espanyol at the Reale Arena. Four goals that left no room for the Spaniards, as they arrived in the last plays of these matches. “We have been close, but it is not worth it. It has already happened to us in San Sebastián and in other games that we stayed on the shore and it is a pity for the work that the players have done “, lamented Vicente Moreno after falling to Atlético. Whether fair or cruel, Espanyol must learn to handle these situations.
They only save two points
So far, Espanyol have been less profitable when they need to scratch a point in added time. At Mestalla he managed to overcome a game he lost with two goals between the 83rd and 88th minutes, but in the 90th minute he was only able to save two points. The first, against Betis to Benito Villamarín, thanks to a goal by Cabrera (2-2 final) in the 97th minute. The second, against another Andalusian rival, Cádiz, after a goal from RDT, which saved a tie (2-2) in the 96th minute in a game where Sergio González’s men had advanced in the 91st minute. Loren, against Celta, also scored a goal in added time, but to no avail (3-1).