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Espanyol and Sociedad share the spoils

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By David Redshaw

Sunday 08 April 2012

Honours were even at Cornella El-Prat as Espanyol and Real Sociedad shared the spoils with a 2-2 draw, a result that did neither side any favours.

Espanyol have seen their European hopes hit in recent weeks after taking two points from the last nine available, while last week’s 4-0 hammering of Rayo Vallecano had got Real Sociedad back on track after three successive defeats. It was the Basques, therefore, who got off to a dream start within the opening 15 minutes when Philippe Montanier’s team found themselves two goals to the good courtesy of Mexican midfielder Carlos Vela.

Firstly, the on-loan Arsenal man drilled a long-range shot into the top corner after 12 minutes and just three minutes later he chipped goalkeeper Francisco Casilla from inside the area after good work from David Zurutuza. A shell-shocked Espanyol took some time to recover from the early setbacks and struggled to get a foothold in the game, yet they were thrown a lifeline one minute before half-time when defender Vadim Demidov diverted the ball into his own net.

The Catalans then drew level two minutes into the second half through Vladimir Weiss, whose fierce shot seemed to take a deflection off Kalu Uche and surprised keeper Claudio Bravo. With both sides searching for a winner, Uche and Raúl Rodríguez both had chances for the hosts before Bravo was sent off in stoppage time after receiving two yellow cards for time wasting.

With neither team being able to achieve the breakthrough a draw was probably a fair result in the end, although Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino did not seem to think so.

“A third goal would have done us more justice but we didn’t manage to get it,” said the Argentine. “But we need to be more vigilant at the back because when we were two down our nerves did not allow us to play football. However, when we got back to 2-1 at the end of the first half we dominated the game from then onwards.”

Sociedad Coach Montanier acknowledged his players had gained a valuable away point but is aware there is still much work to be done in what remains of the season.

“The point is important but the 37 points we have will not be enough to save us and we still have to achieve our goal, which is 45 points,” he admitted. “We suffered at times tonight but played as a team, something that is important to us, and we were strong defensively.”

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