First Division - Day 13

Espanyol 3 - Rayo Vallecano 1

Espanyol: Argensó; Bertrán, Domoraud, Soldevilla, David García; Morales, Alex Fernández; Martín Posse (Jonathan 93'), Maxi, Crusat (De la Peña 86'); Tamudo (Milosevic 83'). 4-2-3-1.
Rayo: Etxeberria; Mauro, De Quintana, Onopko, Graff; Pablo Sanz; Julio Alvarez (Camuñas 64'), Quevedo (Bolo 64'), Michel, Peragón (Tal 77'); Bolic. 4-1-4-1.

Team changes: Espanyol: Bertrán, Soldevilla, Martín Posse, Crusat for Amaya, Navas, De la Peña, Roger / Rayo: Mauro, Bolic for Mario, Bolo.

1-0. 09. Tamudo. From close up after Maxi headed on Alex corner.
2-0. 69. Tamudo. Won ball off Graff and ran on to shoot wide of Etxeberría.
2-1. 88. Alex Fernández (own goal). Deflected Bolic header past Argensó.
3-1. 91. Milosevic. Hooked ball past keeper after long ball from Martín Posse.

Espanyol won the relegation battle against Rayo Vallecano 3-1 thanks to a return to form from team captain Raúl Tamudo. The two sides came in to the game in deep trouble, the home side having suffered four defeats in a row and the visitors with only one point in their last five matches, and both managers were under pressure to get a result. Ramón Moya though had to watch the game from the club's video room after picking up a one match ban from the week before, although he was in constant touch by telephone with the bench. The ex reserve team trainer put out a side packed with his old charges for this game, with Bertán coming in for his first appearance with the first team this season, Crusat returning on the left in place of the suspended Roger, and another six home grown players in the line up.

The best known of those was of course Spanish international striker Tamudo, and he scrambled the ball over the line in the ninth minute for the opening goal after Maxi headed on a corner from Alex Fernández. Posse brought a good save out of Etxeberría, but Argensó also had to on his guard, turning a point blank header from Bolic for a corner before the break. Soldevilla, Maxi and Posse all went close either side of half time, but with an hour on the clock Tamudo wrapped things up with an individualist goal, intercepting a poor Onopko pass to run on and beat the keeper with a shot from the outside of his foot.

Espanyol appeared to be in control from then on, but Alex Fernández set the nerves jangling two minutes from the end when he tried to clear Bolic's header and only managed to turn it into his own net. However substitute Milosevic put minds a rest with an injury time strike from Posse's pass to take his side above their opponents, who are now next to bottom. The result takes the pressure off Ramón Moya for the time being, but could mean an end to the time of Fernando Vázquez at the Madrid based club. To make matters worse, the visiting manager was shown a red card for protesting in the second half, and ex goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui is already being lined up to take over. It wouldn't be the first time that this has happened. Last year Andoni Goikoetxea was fired after losing at Espanyol.