Valladolid wasted no time trying to bounce back from their two-match La Liga losing streak, as Cyle Larin thought he’d scored his fourth goal in six games for Pucelanos as he rounded Espanyol goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco and tapped into the net, only for the effort to be ruled out by VAR for offside.
Despite scoring just one goal in their last three matches, the hosts continued to show a greater attacking threat against an Espanyol side that had lost just one of their last six away league games. Inevitably, the pressure took its toll when Iván Sánchez's long-range strike took a huge reflection and flew into the net past Pacheco. The visitors generally struggled to make inroads against a well-drilled Valladolid side with the joint second-best home defence in La Liga, but Javi Puado’s direct approach nearly paid off as his thumping strike from the edge of the area rattled the crossbar before HT.
The near miss seemed to spur Valladolid on to try and score two goals in a league match for the first time since November and substitute Álvaro Aguado duly delivered, racing onto Gonzalo Plata’s cutback and firing home within two minutes of coming off the bench. Espanyol’s chances of a third consecutive league victory vanished and the visitors’ remained on the back foot as Plata almost added a late third as his curled finish struck the woodwork
Espanyol provided a late scare after Martin Braithwaite shot past Sergio Asenjo from 10 yards, but time eventually ran out for a late comeback as Pucelanos held on to remain unbeaten in three at home. Now sitting just two points above the La Liga relegation places, and with a trip to Real Madrid up next, Espanyol will see this as a missed opportunity to earn some vital points as they are now firmly amongst the teams battling it out to avoid the drop.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Gonzalo Plata (Real Valladolid)