Alaves 2-1 Espanyol
Alaves were abundantly aware that anything other than a win in this match would result in their relegation. At any rate, Alaves can claim they went down fighting.
Credit where it’s due, Los Babazorros came flying out the traps, assaulting the Espanyol goal. The visitors seemed totally unprepared for that assault and easily gave up a goal after 7 minutes. As Leandro Cabrera tried to play out the back, Alaves pressed high and within two touches of Cabrera’s giveaway, had Miguel de la Fuente in front of Diego Lopez. He made no error and wheeled away in celebration.
A minute later Alaves coach Julio Velazquez was coming down the touchline in expectation as Gonzalo Escalante was presented with a brilliant opportunity in the box via a Luis Rioja cross. He put it wide to the disbelief of Mendizorroza.
Less than ten minutes later they were punished after Nahuel Tenaglia brought down Raul de Tomas. He got up and put his penalty high into the top corner.
That was the summary of the Espanyol reaction though. Alaves continued to push for the lead and were driven forward by an implacable Rioja.
Less than a minute after half-time, they were given a helping hand by Yangel Herrera, who was sent off for a second yellow. It would take until just before the hour mark before the inevitable occurred, with Escalante tapping in a set-piece at the far post to redeem his earlier miss.
Alaves had played a fairly complete game, penalty aside, but had a few late, nervy moments to remind them they were in a relegation battle. David Lopez and Fran Merida with efforts from outside the box got the heart rate going.
Ultimately, Alaves were the better side and got the points they needed. They cut the gap to safety to four points again, with Espanyol still seeking the point they need to seal their place in La Liga next season. Another discontented performance from the visitors did little to spoil Alaves desperate late efforts.