Espanyol have picked up their first win of the season by defeating Rayo Vallecano 3-2 late on at Cornella-El Prat in a game that finished 10-a-side.
Leo Baptistao gave the visitors a lead in controversial circumstances. Clean through on goal, the Brazilian’s first effort was saved by Cristian Alvarez. Heading the looped-up rebound towards goal, Espanyol appeared to clear the ball legitimately, only for the match officials to rule that it had crossed the line.
Espanyol responded and came back into the game, creating the clearer chances as the half wore on, with Joan Verdu seeing a low effort bounce out of play off the post.
Los Periquitos were rewarded with eight minutes of the first period remaining, when Verdu raced through clean on goal to chip the ball over the advancing Ruben Martinez in the Rayo goal.
After the break Espanyol continued to press and were awarded with a second goal, again through Verdu, who this time found the top corner from the edge of the penalty area after Rayo failed to properly clear a corner.
However, Rayo pegged the home team back again, with Leo netting his second of the match just after the hour mark.
Five minutes later they handed the initiative back to Espanyol as Mikel Labaka picked up a straight red card for diving into a challenge on an opponent.
Even after an immediate attacking double substitution, Espanyol failed to take advantage of the extra man and were then reduced to 10 men themselves on 80 minutes, when Diego Colotto picked up a second yellow for a clumsy body check.
With the numbers level both teams pressed forward for a winner and it was Espanyol who found it as Sergio Garcia’s surge and cross from the left was met with Christian Stuani’s header into the goal.