First Division - Day 11

Español 2 - Athletic Bilbao 1

Espanyol: Mora; Cristóbal, Soldevilla, Pochettino, Toledo; De Lucas (Navas 57'), Galca, Sergio, Iván Díaz (Arteaga 75'); Serrano (Martín Posse 57'), Tamudo. 4-4-2.
Bilbao: Lafuente; Larrainzar, Lacruz, Alkorta, Del Horno (Yeste 92'); Urrutia, Felipe; Joseba Etxeberria (Tiko 90'), Julen Guerrero, Javi González (Oscar Vales 76'); Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Espanyol: Pochettino, De Lucas, Serrano for Nando, Navas, Martín Posse / Bilbao: Del Horno for Larrazábal.

1-0. 11. Pochettino. Got ahead of defence to poke home Galca free kick.
1-1. 66. Etxeberria. Took ball on edge of area, beat defender and scored.
2-1. 88. Sergio. Placed header past Lafuente after Posse cross from right.

A last minute goal from Sergio gave Espanyol their first victory over Athletic in the Montjuic stadium, the Bilbao club having always got a result in the three previous seasons since the Barcelona based club moved from Sarría. Espanyol's manager Paco Flores was able to count on a full squad for this match, with the exception of the injured Roger and Velamazán. Pochettino returned from playing for Argentina, and Flores included no less than six players who had risen through the junior ranks, with De Lucas and Serrano coming in for two other Argentinians, Navas and Posse. Bilbao are no strangers to that philosophy, with the club sticking to their policy of only using players born in the Basque provinces, and their manager Txetxu Rojo lined up his usual side, with Del Horno replacing the injured Larrazábal.

Espanyol took the lead early on after Pochettino got ahead of Alkorta, who is getting himself a reputation recently as being slow. A minute later Urzaiz was unlucky not to equalise, but his header hit the crossbar. Lafuente saved twice from De Lucas and then Tamudo, but after the interval the home side handed over control of the game to the visitors as they fell back to defend the result. Bilbao levelled with a good individualist goal from Etxeberria, his second in two games, and for a moment it looked as if they might even win the game. However the entry of Navas and Martín Posse revived the Catalans, and after Lafuente did well to save from Posse, Tamudo missed the easiest chance of the night.

Rojo put on an extra defender Oscar Vales as he now tried to hold on to the draw, but Sergio headed Posse's cross past the Bilbao keeper with only two minutes to go to give Espanyol their third home win in a row. That extends their unbeaten run to six games (coinciding with the return of Tamudo to the side), and they go back up to the top half of the table. Bilbao are back in trouble after winning a brief respite with a victory last week against Celta, and they drop down to the bottom five, only a point above the relegation zone which includes two of their Basque colleagues, Real Sociedad and Osasuna.