Grand expectation in Indonesia

Presentation of the Club’s tour to Indonesia in Jakarta

The upcoming visit of RCD Espanyol to Indonesia is creating a great deal of expectation in among the local press. A week ago the Club’s official Tour of Indonesia was announced, including the ‘got talent’ program before an audience of around 80 local press agencies. The ‘got talent’ initiative will commence towards the end of summer through to October whereby young players from the ages of 12 to 18 will be selected from 5 of Indonesia’s most important cities. The two best players from this phase will take part in a technical workshop at the Dani Jarque RCD Espanyol Football Academy.

Toni Alegre, RCD Espanyol Marketing Director, lead the blue and white representation at the act, which as well as this formative football initiative also served as the platform for officially announcing the Club’s Tour of Indonesia. The trip will also include Espanyol’s feeder team as well as the first team, with a match being played on the 14th of July against Indonesia’s Under 19 side in the City of Bandung and, on the 19th or 20th of July against Persija Jakarta at the Patriot Stadium.

Indonesia awaits RCD Espanyol. And the Club is counting down the hours to visiting this great country and their millions of football fans. Hasta pronto Indonesia!

 

(Translated from the RCD Espanyol website article “Enorme expectación en Indonesia”, published June 22, 2017)

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Catalan Derby – The 3rd instalment

It attracts nowhere near as much attention as ‘El Clásico’ and the match is not even ‘beIN’ shown on Pay Per View TV, but for most RCD Espanyol fans ‘el Derbi Català’ (either in League or Cup form) is a chance to measure up to the big, all-consuming brother that commands Catalunya’s social, political and media spotlight, 24-7 / 365.

That dominance remains constant, not even a Catalan Derby affords Espanyol any significant increase in coverage and so the Club and their supporters continue to fight, step by step, for additional specs of ‘recognition’ from the major Barcelona-based sports press, namely ‘Sport’ and ‘El Mundo Deportivo’ newspapers and state-funded TV3.

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The reaction to the media furore surrounding the “intensity” displayed by the Pericos during their previous two encounters (League and then Copa del Rey) has had a galvanising effect on the Espanyol fans, who have renewed their appetite for the ‘derbis’ and faith in both the team and their new manager, former Romanian player Constantin Gâlcă.

RCDE Stadium is all set for a potentially fiery encounter despite the fact the blue and whites are 4-1 down from the first leg. Luis Enrique is treating this match as if it is a “one off” so there will be no letting the foot off the accelerator, from both sides!

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Seville FC 1 – RCD Espanyol 0 … and we’re through to the Spanish Cup semi final!

Espanyol made good their advantage from the first leg match at the Power8 Stadium to advance to the next round.

The 3-1 from the first leg was sufficient. It would have been an even greater advantage had Bacca not scored in the dying seconds of the first leg. It didn’t matter. Espanyol fought, sweat and suffered in order to progress and fully deserved, just like in the previous round against Valencia CF. Today, in S eville, in the Sanchez Pizjuan, the blue and white desire proved stronger than the locals’ determination to claw back the goals they had conceded in the first leg.

The fixture had all the great ingredients for an epic encounter: A full stadium and passionate fans, with both teams committed to their manager’s approach on how to win the game.

The RCD Espanyol starting XI

One team was fast paced and anxious. The other, more concentrated, closing gaps, with clear ideas on how this was going to unfold: it was going to be a very physical game. And yet, everything could have changed in the first minute when a foul committed on Sergio Garcia on the edge of the Sevilla 18 yard box gave Arbilla the opportunity to show his increasing dead ball skills by hitting the woodwork on the top corner. This silenced the crowd.

What was clear was that Seville used all their top players in search of turning the adverse first leg score around. Two centre forwards (Bacca and Gameiro), two strong central midfielders (Iborra and Carriço) and two destabilising players along the wings (Denis Suarez and Deulofeu). Against them were two most recent defeats (in the cup and in the league) which was totally unexpected after a great first half of the season.

With all this, the first half had more intensity and complexity than clear cut chances on goal, divided equally in both halves. Sevilla had a great chance when Deulofeu passed to Bacca who in a dangerous position failed to hit the target. Down the other end of the pitch an exact replica where Sergio Garcia had a shot saved by Beto’s feet. And so, back and forth.

The Seville manager Emery, unhappy with the half time deadlock, took off two defenders, replacing them with Banega and Diogo after half time. His strategy was not working and wanted to add further pressure on the Espanyol defence and midfield, but Sergio Garcia’s men were able to remain collected and focused in defence.

03-02-2015 16-18-24Sergio Garcia also made some changes and swapped Caicedo for Stuani, who made an immediate impact by striking the ball on Carriço’s body. The match increased intensity and uncertainty as time passed by. With 20 minutes left Sergio Garcia decided to reinforce the defence, bringing on Colotto. The last five minutes of the match gave Seville the prize they had been waiting for, when Diogo scored from outside the area. The Sanchez Pizjuan exploded and the whole crowd, with the exception of the 200 travelling pericos, urged the white team to press for the second goal, a goal that thankfully never came, which meant Espanyol progress to the Semi final of the Spanish cup for the first time since 2006.

Match Stats:

Sevilla FC: Beto, Coke (Banega, min.45), Pareja (Diogo, min.45), Kolo, F. Navarro (Aleix Vidal, min.67), Carriço, Iborra, Deulofeu, Denis, Gameiro and Bacca.

RCD Espanyol: Pau, Víctor S. (Abraham, min.84), V. Álvarez (Colotto, min.70), Sergio García, J. A. Cañas, H. Moreno, Lucas V., Caicedo (Stuani, min.62), Álvaro, Arbilla and Duarte.

Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera (Valencia). For  Espanyol, yellow cards for Arbilla (min.11), Álvaro (min.53), V. Álvarez (min.57). For Seville, yellow cards for Bacca (min.26), Nico Pareja (min.37), Carriço (min.56).

Goals: 1-0, Diogo (min.87)

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CD Alavés 0 – RCD Espanyol 2

Two Stuani goals place RCD Espanyol in a favorable position for the return leg of the Spanish Kings Cup vs Alavés.

RCD Espanyol took a massive step to reach the round of 16 in the Spanish Kings Cup after beating Alaves in Mendizorroza. Stuani who had a good night, scored both goals in an intense affair where the run of play changed hands several times but which ended in Espanyol’s favour due to their effectiveness in front of goal.

Espanyol’s intention was to dominate from start to finish, to leave no doubt as to who the favourite team was. Sergio González, who made a number of changes wanted the Pericos to put the tie beyond any doubt in this match. In the starting eleven were players who had the least game time and four players playing the Cup for the first time this year: Pau López, Lanzarote, Clerc and Héctor Moreno, the latter fully recovered from his World Cup injury which required surgery.

Despite the changes, the team showed determination in winning this fixture. Manu Lanzarote had the first clear chance in the 3rd minute with a one-on-one with the Alavés goalkeeper, who managed to stop his shot with his body. Alavés used their wingers and the long ball to create some danger in the 18 yard box, but it was a long way from Pau’s goal. On the other hand, Espanyol gradually crept closer and closer to Goitia’s area. The blue and whites had up to three clear chances before Stuani finally broke the deadlock. Raúl Rodríguez and Moreno had a couple of free kicks that ended in the stands and Alaves defender Laguardia had to clear Mattioni’s shot off the goal line. Almost immediately after, the goal arrived, a just reward for the constant pressure play by the Pericos. Stuani won the
struggle from a long ball and his shot deflected off an Alavés defender into the back of the net.

The locals’ reply was swift with a shot by Espanyol loanee Tejera, that ended way above Pau’s crossbar. Tejera was the best player for Alavée on the night, perhaps to prove a point to Segio Gonzalez?

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Hector Moreno returns for Espanyol

The second half offered more of the same: An Alaves side that no matter how much they tried, were not able to cause Pau too many problems and with a sensation that Sergio Gonzalez’s side could increase their lead if they were able to set the pace of the match and soak up the sporadic local pressure.
Pau did well to intercept a ball that Ion Velez would have connected with, this action revived the local fans who began to applaud their team as they gradually stretched out to create more chances, but failing in the final third due to lack of finishing and the increasingly slippery condition due to intermittent rain.

Local player Barreiro had a couple of chances towards the end, but with 0-1 on the scoreboard, the result was a little uncertain up until the last few seconds. And it was during the last breath of the match where Stuani came up with a powerful header to practically put the tie beyond Alaves’ reach, making it 0-2 to the Pericos.

Match Stats:

Deportivo Alavés: Goitia, Medina, Laguardia, Einar, Castillo, Beobide, Tejera (Toti, min.75), Juanma (Barreiro, min.84), R. García, Sangalli and Ion Vélez (Juli, min.60).

RCD Espanyol: Pau, Mattioni, Raúl, V. Álvarez, Álex (Jordán, min.68), Stuani, Abraham, M. Lanza, Clerc (Luque, min.61), H. Moreno (Álvaro, min.72) and Javi López.

Referee: Undiano Mallenco (Navarra). Yellow cards: Álex (min.22).

Goals: 0-1, Stuani (min.35); 0-2, Stuani (min.+90).

7.313 spectators at Mendizorroza (Vitoria-Gasteiz)

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RC Celta de Vigo 2 – RCD Espanyol 2

Espanyol react in the second half to claw back a point

The La Liga draw for the 2013/14 season was a rather unusual one since the last match of the previous season – also an away match at Celta – was repeated for game 1 of the present season.

It was just mere coincidence, but last season’s final match was enough for Celta to avoid relegation thanks to their 1-0 victory against us, in a very tense match. Therefore, this match was in a way, episode 2 of the series. Aguirre had warned the
players of this in the press conference the day before the match.

Celta was keen to retain the same celebratory atmosphere from last season’s finale in this match and enlisted the support of their vociferous fans in their attempt to do so.

Both teams arrived to this point with identical excitement and expectations, very aware of the fact they had to perform better than the previous year. Both squads were anxious to kick-start the season on the right footing.Image

It took a while for both sides to get some sort of rhythm happening. The first 30 minutes saw little action at the end of both goals. Then, the last quarter of an hour prior to half time Espanyol had two clear opportunities. Stuani tried shooting at
Yoel after a great collective move and Sergio Garcia, in a counter-attack, tried shooting from a very sharp angle which

rebounded off Yoel’s body. However, shortly afterwards, the blow arrived as Álex, in a borderline offside position, beat Kiko, slotting the ball under his body in what was perhaps the only clear goal chance during the first half.

If things ended badly for us in the first 45 minutes, the second half could not have started any worse. In their first approach on goal, Charles headed in their second goal. That score seemed too harsh a punishment for the blue and white players. Nevertheless, our team gradually improved and only a few minutes later Víctor Sánchez produced a strong shot from outside the 18 yard box, after a rebound and scored our first goal. The match was not over yet, 40 more minutes remained.

Both managers reacted immediately: Aguirre brought on Thievy (who very nearly scored) and Luis Enrique replaced Nolito with Rafinha.

The match increased its intensity during the final stretch and it was Thievy who levelled, capitalising a long pass by Javi López with a long run of his own to get into a one-on-one position with the home goalkeeper, beating him just as Yoel was
leaving his goal line.

But the match was not yet finished: Kiko performed an incredible save as he literally flew to the left of his goal to clear away a corner kick headed by Cabral in spectacular action, leaving all of us astonished. Espanyol enjoyed another clear goal
opportunity with a Colotto header which rubbed the post after a corner kick.

Match Stats

Celta: Yoel, Hugo Mallo, Fontas, B. Oubiña, Alex López (Madinda, min.88), Nolito (Rafinha, min.62), Charles (David R, min.82),
Toni, G. Cabral, Krohn Dehli, Augusto.

Espanyol: Kiko Casilla, Víctor S, Stuani, Sergio García (Raúl R, min.77), Pizzi (Thievy, min.58), David López (Abraham
min.71), Moreno, Javi López, Fuentes, Colotto, Simao.

Goals: 1-0: Álex López (min.41); ; 2-0: Charles (min.46); 2-1 Víctor Sánchez (min.52); 2-2: Thievy (min.74).

Referee: Mr. Teixeira Vitienes (C. Cántabro). Yellow cards shown to: Víctor Sánchez (min.12), Augusto (min.31), Fuentes
(min.44), Álex López (min.45), Simao (min.56), Rafinha (min.84), David Rodríguez (min.86), Javi López (min.87).

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RCD Espanyol 1 – Real Zaragoza 2 : A painful defeat

 

Espanyol lose against Zaragoza in the last minute

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Espanyol made their debut at Cornellà-El Prat with a defeat in a match where the tide was turned after a penalty by Albín in the early minutes of the second half. Until that moment, Pochettino’s men were firmly in control courtesy of Alvaro’s goal in the closing stages of the first half. The blue and white team showed more determination in approaching their rivals’ half than Zaragoza. However, Albín’s penalty drastically changed the course of the match which culminated in a painful defeat for the Pericos.

Zaragoza started the match full of energy aiming for Cristian Alvarez’s goal. Manolo Jiménez’s men tried to surprise by means of the long ball, but our defense did their job very well blocking any opportunity from the visiting team. Zaragoza decreased their intensity, deciding to move their lines backwards, leaving all the responsibility to the Espanyol players.

Zaragoza’s newly defined defensive strategy complicated matters for our players, finding it harder to exploit any gaps in their defense. The most dangerous situations in the first half came through dead balls. Raul Rodriguez headed close to the post and gave Zaragoza its first warning. Shortly afterwards his Mexican counterpart also produced two good headers which regrettably did not end up in the back of the net.

Our players tried to impose their style of play but encountered many difficulties in Zaragoza’s half, who effectively repositioned themselves on the pitch. Add the fact our players suffered from the numerous ‘theatrical’ interruptions, which deliberately disrupted the flow of the game. However, towards the last minutes of the first half, Espanyol increased the pressure and were duly rewarded. Alvaro took advantage of a deep pass and overpassed Roberto, shooting powerfully to inaugurate the score just before the half time whistle.

The second half started awfully for Espanyol. After a clear foul on Wakaso, which the ref conveniently ignored, the most unfortunate action in the game occurred. A corner kick by Zaragoza hit Albín’s hand. On this particular occasion, Paradas Romero did not hesitate to point towards the penalty spot and award Albin with his second bookable offence, leaving Espanyol down to ten players. Apoño, a great penalty shooter, did not miss and drew the score level. That goal demoralized our team.

Thereafter Zaragoza enjoyed a multiple chances to score, but between Cristian, Raul and Alvaro, Espanyol were able to avoid conceding a second goal. To make matters worse, Héctor Moreno asked to be replaced after a strong clash in the area.

After a few restless minutes, Espanyol were back in control of the game. Despite being down to ten men, our players contained Zaragoza’s advances with great effectiveness and with the exception of the odd fright here and there, we handled the ‘maños’ pretty well. Espanyol even tried to surprise with their attacking moves and Alvaro enjoyed a good chance which went slightly off target.

It seemed the match would end in a draw with both teams attaining their first point of the season, however, in the 89 minute, Postiga took advantage of a loose ball in the area to shoot on target, scoring what would become the victorious goal. Our team, with no time left for reaction, nearly managed to claw our way back into the game, but luck would not side with our players today and the final whistle sealed our fate and the second consecutive defeat of the season.

Match Stats:

RCD Espanyol: C. Álvarez, Raúl R., Víctor S., Álvaro (Rui Fonte min.78), J. Verdú, H. Moreno (Forlín min.58), Javi López, Albín, Capdevila, Wakaso (Tejera min.58), C. Gómez.

R. Zaragoza: Roberto, Paredes, Álvaro, Goni, Edu Oriol (Rodríguez min.46), H. Postiga, Apoño, Montañés (Jorge Ortí min.85), José Mari, Abraham, Pinter (N. Aranda min.68).

Goals: Álvaro (min. 42); Apoño (min.50); Postiga (min.88).

Referee: Mr. Paradas Romero (Andalusia). Yellow cards to Albín (min. 23), Wakaso (min. 38), Goni (min. 59), Pinter (min. 66), V. Sánchez (min.78), Rodríguez (min.82), Montañés (min.83), Raúl R. (min.84); C. Gómez (min.91).

16.923 spectators.

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RCD Mallorca 2 – RCD Espanyol 1: The Mallorca jinx continues for Espanyol

Espanyol once again left the island empty-handed after a match that was controlled throughout, but lacking the finishing touch.

Espanyol is loyal to their Island jinx. The blue and white squad once again left Mallorca with zero points, replicating last years match at the Iberostar Stadium when the Bermellones scored thanks to an own goal from a Perico player and on this occasion after a rebound from the bar.

The commencement of this 11pm “after hours” match started with a frenetic pace, giving the impression that both sides wanted to finish as soon as possible. It was rather a peculiar fact a match which started on Saturday but ended on Sunday, especially considering it was the start match of the league 2012-2013. The first sign of danger was a Tomer header on the 58 second mark but the Perico goalie Cristian saved with his body. A few minutes later, Tomer was more effective and scored the Islanders’ first goal after a move which he himself produced in the blue and white half.

Espanyol remained calm, moved the ball from one end to the other until Wakaso, on the right wing, received a ball served by Cristian Gómez. The Ghanaian player overpassed Antonio López and beat Aouate. The draw did not calm anyone down and showed once more that both sides were still lacking match time and, as it appears, the absence of main players to finish completing their respective squads. If Mallorca were short of full backs, our team reached this first match with the most unfortunate evidence of missing three essential players, one per line. The ball moved from one area to the other and both Cristian and Aouate were repeatedly put to the test. Ximo, Albín, Víctor Casadesús as well as Alvaro on several occasions, tried to surprise both keepers forcing them to produce fine saves before half time.

 

The second half started on a quieter note with both teams being methodically positioned on the pitch, in a less attacking frame of mind. However, after a corner kick, a Nunes header hit the bar. In order to wrestle control by the local side, Wakaso tried a long range shot which forced Aouate to put himself in place. Victor Casadesús then repeated exactly the same thing for Mallorca and his shot – fortunately for Espanyol – was off target.

Then, both teams started to introduce substitutes. Due to the intense heat, the rhythm of the game steadily decreased, as did the performance quality. Only a move between lines by Marc Fernández managed to reawaken the fans interest who were also feeling rather heated due to the high temperature.

The match descended into uneventful conformity and not much occurred except for a long range shot by Verdú, which hit the post. But the following action resulted in the goal that would seal a home win: Pereira’s shot hit the cross bar and rebounded and who else than Tomer, who, close to our goal, scored again. From that moment onwards, Mallorca limited to defending their slender advantage by playing close to their keeper, a strategy which paid dividends.

 

Match stats:

RCD Mallorca: Aouate, Ximo, Nunes, Bigas, Antonio López, Pina (Martí, min.80), Javi Márquez (Joao, min.55), Nsue (Marc Fernández, min.72), Pereira, Víctor and Hemed.

RCD Espanyol: Cristian Álvarez, Victor Sánchez, Forlín, Alvaro (Rui Fonte, min.63), Verdú, H. Moreno, Javi López, Albín, Capdevila, Wakaso (Cristian Alfonso, min.68) and Cristian Gómez (Tejera, min.80).

Goals: 1-0: Hemed (min.2); 1-1: Wakaso (min.6); 2-1: Hemed (min.85).

Referee: Undiano Mallenco (Navarra). Yellow cards to Nunes (min.32), Nsue (min.37), Víctor Sánchez (min.61), Wakaso (min.63) and Martí.

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