A frantic and entertaining opening 15 minutes produced a glut of chances, as the two sides flew out of the starting blocks. Aiming to end a three-game winless run, Espanyol went close through Javi Puado, who blazed wide from a promising one-on-one situation, before Martin Braithwaite tested Edgar Badia with an awkward deflected effort.
Having survived a couple of early moments, it was then the turn of basement side Elche to threaten, with two golden chances from successive corners. First, an unmarked Omar Mascarell had a powerful header saved by debutant Fernando Pacheco, while Ezequiel Ponce headed hopelessly wide from inside the six-yard box. An end-to-end start showed no signs of relenting, as Denis Suárez was denied his first Espanyol goal by Enzo Roco’s goal line clearance. The ball was finally in the net just after the half-mark, but an offside flag prevented Puado’s close-range strike from standing.
Puado continued to play a key role for the visitors after the break, as he forced Badia into a smart stop with a driven strike. Elche’s victory over Villarreal in their most recent home game represented their first league win of the season, and they were doing their utmost to add three more points to their tally against Espanyol. Gerard Gumbau’s left foot shot was well saved by Pacheco, while Ponce was unable to keep his wayward effort under the crossbar. Elche’s hopes of claiming consecutive home victories were dealt a blow when Sevilla loanee José Ángel Carmona was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a mis-timed challenge on Aleix Vidal.
Espanyol made the most of the numerical advantage, as Sergi Darder secured a dramatic victory in stoppage time with an unstoppable strike from the edge of the box that left Elche 13 points adrift from safety
Flashscore Man of the Match: Sergi Darder (Espanyol)