Pressure was beginning to build at the RCDE stadium. Espanyol had sent their into the New Year with high hopes and optimism after a 2-1 away victory at Mestalla. And that was the last time they had celebrated a league win.
If there was one team which could perhaps bring them some joy, Getafe might not have been it but they certainly would have been high on the list – even Quique Sanchez Flores has been unable to inspire a single away win this season.
A mid-afternoon kick off, the match began in a similarly relaxed fashion. Both teams set out their stalls without really engaging in much battle, Espanyol keeping the ball in comfortable areas for the most part.
Yet they wouldn’t have to wait long for some excitement. A corner came in from the left and Leandro Cabrera towered above his marker and didn’t err with the header. He didn’t calm the celebrations against his former team either.
Espanyol grew in confidence and were now looking increasingly dangerous, playing football with pleasure. Ten minutes after Cabrera’s goal and three before the half hour mark, they further reward.
Sergi Darder, the seed of everything good in blue and white, skipped into the box and pulled the across the smaller box. Disorientated, Mathias Oliveira stumbled into the ball, which then hit Eric Cabaco and rolled into the net. Two-nil to Los Pericos.
It stayed that way until half time and well, after it too. Several bookings and some nasty fouls soured the game a little, but also stopped it in Espanyol’s favour. Cabaco was forced off as the game grew to its close. Chances were scarce and at this point, so was good football.
Despite the solid challenges, Getafe never really declared war on Espanyol either. That has to be the biggest regret for Quique Sanchez Flores.
For Espanyol, they snap their hopeless streak and can finally go home content with their work, after two months of restless rest days.