All sides got here into the fixture in contrasting type. Atletico had received 5 of their final six Primera Division video games, profitable the final 4 and looking out the more than likely workforce to problem Barcelona’s supremacy on the summit of the league. The hosts have had a season of battle thus far, languishing in 16th and solely one of many earlier six league matches and creeping ever nearer to the underside three.
Espanyol made two modifications from the workforce that drew 2-2 away at Las Palmas, with Javi Lopez and Javi Fuego beginning. For the guests, Fernando Torres began instead of French striker Kevin Gameiro after coming off the substitutes’ bench to rating the late winner in opposition to Alaves.
In entrance of a sparse crowd, Atletico took management of the early levels of the sport dominating possession with out duly troubling Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
A lot of the preliminary levels of match was being performed within the midfield space, however Espanyol had been steadily rising in confidence and creating alternatives down Los Indios’ left flank with Aaron Martin wanting threatening.
The primary actual likelihood was created by the hosts in the 19th minute when Sergio Garcia made an incisive break and performed in Leo Baptistao, as Jan Oblak superior off his line the previous Atletico participant tried to chip the on-rushing goalkeeper from the sting of the realm solely to see his tentative effort go large and the golden alternative to take the lead was misplaced.
Espanyol started to achieve momentum, with David Lopez’s speculative effort from 20 yards comfortably tipped over the bar by Oblak to drive one other nook which in the end got here to nothing.
Essentially the most contentious incident of the half got here when Torres rapidly closed down an tried clearance by Javier Lopez , delivering the ball to Antoine Griezmann to spherical the house keeper.
Lopez bravely dived on the striker’s ft in an try to accumulate the ball, nevertheless the French worldwide blatantly dived to entice the foul, however the referee was to not be fooled and rightfully gave a aim kick – though the official determined in opposition to reserving the striker for simulation.
A tightly fought half finally drew to a detailed with Espanyol content material to be on degree phrases. The guests had misplaced their early impetus they usually appeared the workforce happy to soak up the stress and grind down their opponent.
The second half began very very like the primary with Atletico trying to dominate possession and drive Magico to retreat. Nevertheless Espanyol had been proving collectively resilient permitting Simeone’s males to retain the ball, then they’d defensively spark into life when the guests dared to enter the ultimate third of the pitch.
The sport was not in a position to circulation with the continuous break up of play by means of petty free kicks and neither keeper being troubled. Then within the 68th minute, Moreno retrieved the ball on Atletico’s byline and crossed neatly for Garcia to take a primary time shot which went agonisingly large of Oblak’s close to publish.
Within the 77th minute a terrifically weighted move by Griezmann from midfield freed countryman Gameiro, a second half substitute. Sadly, the striker shot straight at Lopez whereas closely underneath stress from the unexpectedly monitoring residence defenders.
The winner got here late on when Espanyol substitute Esteban Granero broke down the proper aspect of the penalty space and crossed in direction of the on-rushing Garcia who, with out breaking stride, calmly handed the ball previous the stationary Oblak to ship the house supporters wild in celebration as they claimed all three factors in a tough fought contest.