Espanyol played well, tried their best, even managed to draw level, but eventually were defeated in added time.
Espanyol left La Romareda with one of the most painful defeats that anybody could imagine. It was in added time, nearly at the final whistle and when our team was trying to pull together against an injured rival because of the missed penalty shot by Luis García earlier on. The match had goals and uncertainty till the end.
Espanyol and Zaragoza proved that, apart from the top teams, the rest of them will compete to survive at the end. Both teams started the match with some homework to do. Zaragoza, after the severe 0-6 defeat against Real Madrid in their first league match, and their draw with Rayo the week before, they wanted to improve. And our team, after the good display against Athletic Club de Bilbao, tried to obtain our first away victory since January.
In any case, this match had nothing to do with the friendly they played a month ago. Not only for the new faces in both sides, but also for their trajectory before this match.
The match started with a frantic rhythm as both teams tried their hardest, firstly to control the match and secondly to score as early as possible. It was somewhat shocking to see how Luis García, who played for us until the last day of August, was covering all the attacks by Didac and also telling his team-mates where to place themselves when Espanyol had a free kick.
Both Micael and Sergio García performed acrobatic shots, but the match itself was more and more muddled as the minutes passed by. The bad news for Espanyol arrived when Joan Verdú, after clashing with a rival player, had to be replaced by Romaric. Shortly afterwards, Zaragoza scored by means of a Luis García header after a pass from Lafita. Cristian, despite his long jump dive, could not save the goal.
From then after, Zaragoza converted into a duty decalogue, everything they planned. Their defense stayed put behind running after Alvaro and Thievy wherever they moved and in the second half, same system for Pandiani and Weiss. The way in which their lines were close to each other, was obvious together with their will to keep the advantage in the scoreboard. The match took place in a populated area of no more than 50 metres which went up and down subject to where the ball was at any particular moment. Being the match split in two, the first half finished with an excellent pass from Sergio García to Javi Márquez but the Catalan midfielder shot off goal.
In the second half Pochettino brought the remainder of his artillery with Weiss and Pandiani, and that’s when Espanyol showed their best version. The match was still alive especially when Espanyol drew the scoreboard after a triple chance by Sergio García and Javi López being the latter to eventually score. The blue and white team was in command, controlled the timing reaching the local goal more and more all the time with clear danger. Weiss who played for us for the first time, left a good impression especially with a free kick which was saved by Roberto with difficulties. But both teams were not pleased with the draw and the two of them clearly went for the match. Lafita fell on our box, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and showed Javi López his second yellow card which implied he had to leave the pitch with a red card. It was a questionable and rigorous decision as it did not seem penalty at all. Luis García shot the penalty and Cristian saved the ball with his body.
But just in the very last minute, once more it was Luis García, who after a rebound in our penalty area, scored again. There was no time left for anything else. It was his redemption and we could only regret a painful and cruel defeat.
Real Zaragoza: Roberto, Juárez, Paredes, Mateos, F.Meira (Abraham, min.78), H.Postiga (Braulio, min.80), Luis García, Da Silva, Lafita, Micael and Ponzio (Barrera, min.59).
RCD Espanyol: C.Álvarez, J.López, Forlín, H.Moreno, Dídac, Raúl Baena, J.Márquez (Weiss, min.46), Sergio Gracía, J.Verdú (Romaric, min.24), Thievy and Álvaro (W.Pandiani, min.46).
Referee: José L. Paradas Romero. Yellow card: Romaric (min.32), J.Márquez (min.45), Weiss (min.66), Javi López (min.74 y min.85), Héctor Moreno (min.83) / Postiga (min.40), Mateos (min.82).
Goals: 1-0, Luis García (min.28); 1-1, Javi López (min.71); 2-1: Luis García (90+3).