First Division - Day 25

Espanyol 1 - Valladolid 0

Espanyol: Mora; Navas, Rotchen, Soldevilla, Ricardo Cavas; Morales (Oscar 68'), Alex Fernández; De Lucas (Martín Posse 78'), Palencia (Pacheco 59'), Roger; Tamudo. 4-2-3-1.
Valladolid: Ricardo; Torres Gómez, Mario, Gaspar, Peña, Marcos; Fernando Sales, Jesús, Chema (Oscar 87'), Fernando; Tote (Lozano 74'). 5-4-1.

Team changes: Espanyol: Ricardo Cavas, De Lucas for Lopo, Fran / Valladolid: Gaspar for Caminero.

1-0. 90. Martín Posse. Turned ball into net after Ricardo blocked Pacheco shot.

Espanyol picked up their tenth point at home in the last four matches with a last minute victory over Valladolid, to distance themselves from the bottom spots and move up to eleventh in the table. Paco Flores went back to a four man defence after his experiment midweek with three central defenders at Rayo, with Lopo suspended and De Lucas returning to the side after a one match ban. Pepe Moré only made one change from what is becoming a stable starting line up, Gaspar getting a rare start in place of Caminero, who was also serving a one match suspension. The game got off to a slow start, with a well ordered Valladolid prepared to defend and wait for their chances on the counterattack. Moré's side came in to this match with the best record of anyone in 2002, and they demonstrated why as they gave as good as they got for much of the game.

Eventually though Espanyol took charge, and only another superb performance by keeper Ricardo kept out the Catalan forwards. The Spanish national side's third choice keeper stopped shots from Tamudo and Palencia after the break, and then made a spectacular one-handed save from Roger to keep his side in the game. Fernando Sales almost surprised Mora at the other end on a rapid breakaway, Rotchen getting back quickly to clear the danger, and Pacheco sent a header just wide for the home team shortly after coming on. Valladolid gave up all hope of attack twenty minutes from the end when Peña got himself sent off for a second bookable offence, Moré taking off his only forward Tote to bring on midfielder Harold Lozano. It seemed that the visitors were going to save a point, but in the last minute Pacheco's shot was blocked by Ricardo, and the rebound fell to late substitute Martín Posse who turned it in to the empty net. Curiously Posse had scored the only goal in the previous game between the two sides earlier in the season, and his strike takes them within two points of their opponents, who stay in tenth place.