First Division - Day 34

Deportivo La Coruña 3 - Espanyol 1

Deportivo: Molina; Scaloni, Naybet, Romero, Capdevila; Mauro Silva, Sergio; Makaay, Valerón (Djalminha 61'), Fran (Amavisca 46'); Diego Tristán (Emerson 80'). 4-2-3-1.
Espanyol: Argensó; Navas, Lopo (Rotchen 46'), Soldevilla, David García; Paulo Sousa (Ricardo Cavas 46'), Morales; Martín Posse, Palencia (Pacheco 65'), De Lucas; Tamudo. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Deportivo: Naybet, Makaay for César, Víctor / Espanyol: Morales, De Lucas for Alex Fernández, Roger.

1-0. 01. Makaay. Headed over keeper into roof of net from Fran's corner.
2-0. 07. Diego Tristán. Took Makaay square pass and shot wide of keeper.
3-0. 33. Makaay. Ran on to deep pass to round keeper and score into empty net.
3-1. 69. Rotchen. Header in off post following De Lucas free kick from right.

Deportivo bounced back from their defeat at Manchester United with a 3-1 victory over Espanyol which takes them to within a point of Real Madrid and two below leaders Valencia. Despite the midweek disappointment Irureta stuck to a similar side, his rotation system apparently now a thing of the past with so much at stake every game. Paco Flores was missing the suspended Alex Fernández and Morales came back in, as did De Lucas who was available again after his one match ban. The Catalans came out relaxed after their victory last week took them comfortably up to mid-table. However that cost them dearly as their opponents scored twice in the first seven minutes of the game, with Makaay celebrating his return to the side in place of the injured Víctor with a powerful header following a Fran corner in the first minute. Makaay then turned provider, taking Sergio's through ball on the right wing to cross in for "Pichichi" Diego Tristán to score his nineteenth league goal of the season. Espanyol responded timidly with a couple of long shots which did not trouble keeper Molina, but Depor could have extended their lead further when David García headed a Fran chip off the line and Argensó saved from a Diego Tristán on full charge.

Then with just over a half hour gone Makaay got his second of the night running on to a long pass from Valerón to round Argensó and score. At half time Flores decided to make a couple of changes, bringing on defenders Rotchen and Ricardo Cavas, and Irureta rested his captain Fran to give Amavisca a run out. The new faces gave the visitors a lease of life, but shortly after Pacheco replaced Palencia they were reduced to ten men, Soldevilla getting a direct red card for bringing down substitute Djalminha from behind after a bad clearance by Argensó. Rotchen did pull a goal back a couple of minutes later, diving to head a De Lucas free kick wide of Molina, and the numbers were evened up a few minutes after that when Mauro Silva followed Soldevilla to the changing rooms after picking up a second booking. However Depor shut up shop for the last quarter of an hour to narrow the gap on the top two, and with Valencia to play next week and Real Madrid visiting the Riazor on the last day of the season their destiny is now in their own hands.