Los Colchoneros drop points at home after having two players sent off.
Another strange night at el Vicente Calderón. I don’t know how to break it down, so I’ll just write up an overview with some thoughts. Firstly, Abbiati had a very good game & kept us alive for as long as he could. Forlán‘s presence in the front-line was immense- visible and industrious.
In the first 10 minutes, I felt that Espanyol looked the better of the two sides, more focused with clear attacks.
Unfortunately, the shit hit the fan in the 29′ when Agüero was sent off. Yes, he was being hounded by Torrejón, but that is no excuse for his conduct. It was a brash, inexcusable reaction by Kun– a reaction that cost us the game, unfortunately. Having said that, after his expulsion, I felt the team played with a bit more urgency. Spectacular free-kick by Simao in the 37′ eased some apprehension, but not much as Espanyol continued to press forward for an equaliser.
Miraculously, the ref failed to see the blatant hand-ball of Raúl in the penalty area. Poor refereeing, but one that allowed us to finish the 1st half with a goal advantange.
Espanyol came back from half-time on fire, taking advantage of their one-man advantage; Tamudo scored a 52′ equaliser without much trouble. Honestly, no one was marking him. Our defenders fell asleep at the wheel.
The shit hit the fan again, literally 3 minutes after the equaliser, when Pernía was harshly given a second yellow for a foul on Tamudo.
Aguirre began to ring in the changes:
58′ Maxi out (didn’t play particularly well), Antonio López in. Basically, a substitution to replace Pernía.
Forlán had two fantastic opportunities to restore our lead: one with the help of Antonio López (Kameni halted this one) and another a few minutes after that.
Aguirre made another substitution in the 74′: Simao out, Jurado in. Strange substitution, I thought. Any thoughts on it?
At this point, I was hoping we’d escape with a point. Wishful thinking.
In the 85′, Espanyol’s Luis García scored a goal thanks to a bit of brilliance by de la Peña; simply impossible for Abbiati.
Our Luis García came on for Raúl. By then, the game was over. Espanyol maintained the bulk of position until full-time.
I can only blame the ref for so much: With the exception of a few, we played terribly, with 11, 10 and 9.
Our midfield struggled against that of Espanyol’s; Raúl needs a stronger central midfielder partner. Hopefully, Motta will return from holiday break fit because, at this point, who the hell knows if we’re going to bring in reinforcements in January.
Aguirre on the game:
“It was a strange game in which we played for a long time with ten men, and then nine for longer. Eleven against ten is complicated, but at ten we managed to score. Nine, though, was too much advantage for them and it was only a matter of time [...] I only have praise for my players.”
Aguirre on the Maniche situation:
“Maniche? We’re on holiday now, and when we get back we’ll see how things go in training and matches [...] What happens in the locker room stays there. That’s how I’ve always worked, and I’ll continue to do so.”