Sunday October 16, 2011 (11.00 UK)
Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, Madrid
Mauricio Pochettino’s Espanyol picked up their third win of the campaign against a Rayo Vallecano side that looked bereft of ideas in the final third. Romaric’s strike at the beginning of the first half was the only goal of the game, but Los Periquitos created enough chances to score more.
The game began conservatively as both teams struggled to maintain possession or create any clear chances, but the visitors looked like the more dangerous side going forward. As the half progressed, Espanyol settled quicker and began to play the ball about neatly which led to them creating a couple of half chances. They might have opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Alvaro Vazquez was played in by neatly Romaric, but the Spanish forward was marginally offside.
Just before the break, Pochettino’s side had a good penalty shout when Piti brought down the overlapping Didac Vila inside the area, however referee Iglesias Villanueva decided it was a good tackle and the sides went into the break even.
Rayo started the second half much brighter and soon after the restart Raul Tamudo found himself one on one with Alvarez, but the former Espanyol striker lost the footrace and the keeper managed to clear. The deadlock was broken ten minutes after the interval when Romaric placed his right-footed past Dani Gimenez after patient build up from the visitors and clever pass from Juan Forlin. The Espanyol goal scorer came close to doubling his tally in the 66th minute, but Dani smartly tipped his left footed drive wide for a corner.
Espanyol continued to create a number of good chances as the second half progressed, but they failed to put Dani under any considerable pressure. Rayo were left frustrated by a very organised defence for long periods of the game and Coach Jose Ramon Sandoval will be disappointed at the lack of creativity up front. Espanyol defended well though and held out to secure their first away win in La Liga in over nine months.
Rayo Vallecano (4-2-3-1): Dani; Tito, Arribas, Jordi, Casado; Movilla (Pacheco 62), Fuego; Piti (Delibasic 70), Michu, Bothelo (Lass 57); Tamudo
Unused subs: Labaka, Koke, Michel, Cobeno
Espanyol (4-2-3-1): Alvarez; Lopez, Amat, Moreno, Didac; Forlin, Marquez (Baena 73); Garcia, Romaric (Pandiani 88), Verdu; Alvaro (Rui Fonte 55)
Unused subs: Weiss, Datolo, Casilla, Rodriguez
Did you know… In their last five Liga encounters, Rayo Vallecano have only managed to score four goals against Espanyol [via @whoscored]