BarcelonaEspanyol will play in the First Division next season, no matter what happens in the last two games. The white-and-blues have managed to turn mathematics into a permanence that until now was virtual thanks to the favor of Mallorca, who did not pass the tie to Sánchez Pizjuán (0-0). The obstacle of the Balearics saved a declining Spaniard who is seven points away from relegation with two days to go after falling showing a poor image in Mendizorrotza (2-1).
Vicente Moreno’s team, who needed only one point to be able to sleep peacefully for the last two days, were hit from the start by the intensity of an Alava player who made it clear that his life was at stake. Overcome in the middle of the field, Espanyol spent most of the match retreating in the face of the offensive of Alava, which came out in a storm and took only seven minutes to open the can. A bad refusal from Cabrera and a weak start from Calero led to Miguel advancing the locals.
Espanyol reacted quickly: only four minutes later RDT provoked and converted a penalty, signing their 16th goal of the season. The Madrid man is still alive in the fight for the Zarra trophy, although he still has Aspas two goals away. The striker, who returned to the starting line-up after the penalty against Osasuna, experienced a rather gray performance, in the line of the whole team.
Only Melendo, always willing and well-profiled, tried to stretch the team to rival field. The young midfielder, however, could not find anyone to associate with. Darder, Melamed and Puado did not appear in a Spaniard without defensive intensity or continuity with the ball, which was left with ten men soon, just at the beginning of the second half. With a free kick close to the byline, Yangel Herrera tried a move that loyal fans may recognize from training. An unnecessary recklessness that caused Espanyol to sacrifice Melendo and live the whole second part sunk in his area.
The worst Spaniard at home in the 21st century
Encouraged by his people, Alava was fed up with generating arrivals against a Spaniard who gave up attacking. It was not until the last five minutes of the match that the visitors came to timidly threaten the goal of a Pacheco too quiet. The white-and-blues, once again, teamed up on aspirin against a needy rival. Those of Vicente Moreno, who have only added one of the last 15 points, can be grateful that there are only two days left in the league. The Spaniards are still not improving their image at home: 8 points and a single victory away from Cornellà-El Prat are, in the absence of a day, the worst record of this 21st century. The decompression that the white-and-blues have been dragging for several weeks contrasts with the tension of an Alava who will still have to paddle bravely in order to earn a place in the 2022-23 First Division.