Mallorca showed attacking intent as the quarter-hour mark approached after a slow start to proceedings. However, Dani Rodriguez’s effort from a promising position spun harmlessly wide, and Kang-in Lee’s strike gave Fernando Pacheco greater concerns before ultimately sailing off target.
Predrag Rajkovic then offered the hosts a gift that was gratefully accepted, as the goalkeeper’s pass was intercepted by Aleix Vidal, who teed up Martin Braithwaite for a simple finish.
Espanyol had another glorious opportunity when Mallorca failed to convincingly clear Sergi Darder’s free-kick delivery, but Javi Puado failed to capitalise and fired off target.
In a game that had been competitive, Vedat Muriqi provided a moment of true quality in the 41st minute. With an imaginative first-time strike from Rodriguez’s pass, the striker swept his shot out of Pacheco’s reach from the edge of the box, taking the Kosovo international into double digits in a league campaign for the first time since his Fenerbahce days of 2019/20.
Diego Martinez responded by bringing on Nico Melamed and changing the Periquitos’ shape ahead of the restart.
His reward came a mere six minutes later,as Melamed provided the assist for Braithwaite to restore Espanyol’s lead with a clinical finish that marked the Dane’s seventh LaLiga goal this campaign - his best league goalscoring tally since 2016/17.
With the hosts searching for breathing room, Braithwaite couldn’t quite get a clean contact on Puado’s cross with the chance of a hat-trick before the hour mark, while Sergi Gomez was denied by a strong save from Rajković.
Seconds after being introduced from the bench, Angel looked destined to find the bottom corner before Pacheco clawed his attempt away.
Cesar Montes then put in a superb last-ditch challenge on Amath Ndiaye, as Espanyol valiantly held out to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
They sit five points above LaLiga’s relegation zone for now, while Mallorca have lost five consecutive away league matches.