Late charge powers Espanyol past Valencia

Sports Desk, Dec 31 (EFE).- Espanyol scored twice in the last 10 minutes Friday to edge 10-man Valencia 2-1 in the final LaLiga match of 2021.

With their first away win of the campaign, Espanyol climbed to ninth place with 26 points, 2 behind Valencia in the eighth spot.

Roughly 29,570 people came out to Valencia’s 48,600-seat Mestalla stadium for the last sporting event in Spain before a limit of 75 percent capacity takes effect due to the Omicron-fueled surge in Covid-19 cases.

The hosts made a positive start and created the only scoring opportunity of the first half, a header from Hugo Duro that hit the post.

But Espanyol came to have most of the ball as the minutes passed, though they never troubled Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, and the sides reached half-time deadlocked 0-0.

Omar Alderete beat Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez in the 51st minute and Valencia might have taken all 3 points if visiting coach Vicente Moreno hadn’t decided to replace Aleix Vidal with Jofre Carreras in the 81st minutes.

Seconds after coming on the pitch, Carreras drew a foul from Duro – who was already on a yellow card – in the box to win a penalty and reduce Valencia to 10 men.

Raul De Tomas converted from the spot to level the score at 1-1. With two minutes left in regulation, Jofre delivered a perfect cross to Javi Puado, who headed past Cillessen for the winner. EFE


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