First Division - Day 6

Espanyol 2 - Recreativo Huelva 0

Espanyol: Argensó; Navas, Soldevilla, Domoraud (Jarque 83'), David García; Morales (De la Peña 71'), Roger; Velamazán, Maxi (Fredson 71'), Luque; Milosevic. 4-2-3-1.
Recreativo: César; Galán, Loren, Alex, Espinola; Javi García (Gallego 69'), José Mari (Xiscu 69'), Iker Begoña, Benítez (Cubillo 74'); Mario Bermejo, Raúl Molina. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Espanyol: David García, Velamazán, Milosevic for Ricardo Cavas, Fredson, Tamudo / Recreativo: Galán, Javi García for Yago, Oscar Arpón.

1-0. 61. Roger. Speculative shot from inside own half which went in over keeper.
2-0. 73. Roger. Took pass from Milosevic to poke long shot past César.

Espanyol sensationally fired Juande Ramos only a day before their relegation battle with Recreativo Huelva after the manager had heavily criticised the board of directors. Ramos basically accused his paymasters of incompetence, which coming on top of only one point in the first five games after a big-spending summer was the straw which broke the camel's back. The manager was suspended without pay pending a final meeting on Tuesday, and B team manager Ramón Moya had to rush back from his team's pre-match hotel to take charge of the squad.

Luckily the new man's first game in charge was against a side who are also struggling, both teams propping up the rest with a point apiece before this game. With less than 24 hours to plan, Moya stuck to the same squad, but eventually decided not to give a start to any of the youngsters Juande had called up. Milosevic lead the attack, as Tamudo was still injured.

The game was decided in the end though by two spectacular goals in the second half by Espanyol's Roger. The first must rank as a possible goal of the season, the ex Barcelona midfielder spotting César off his line and hitting a speculative shot from just inside his own half which flew over the keeper's head and in to the net. His second wasn't bad either, taking a pass midway in his opponents half and hitting another left foot shot from outside of the area which left César stranded again.

Other than that though there was little to shout about for the home side. Raúl Molina almost gave the visitors the lead in the opening minutes, and the Periquito defence looked very shaky throughout the first half. One ray of light was the reappearance of Iván De la Peña in the second half, but he is not yet fully fit and still needs to adapt to the team.

As for Recre, their efforts came to nothing and they now find themselves three points adrift at the bottom of the table. It is still early days, but it is already looking like their second appearance in the top flight will be as short as the first one. Lucas Alcaraz has just signed a new contract which takes him through to 2007. On current form he will be lucky to survive to Christmas.