First Division - Day 16

Alavés 2 - Espanyol 1

Alavés: Dutruel; Geli, Téllez, Karmona, Llorens; Turiel (Rubén Navarro 65'), Luis Helguera; Magno (Edu Alonso 83'), Jordi Cruyff, Ibon Begoña; Ilie (Iván Alonso 90'). 4-2-3-1.
Espanyol: Sergio Sánchez; Bertrán, Lopo, Soldevilla, Navas (Arteaga 80'); Maxi, Domoraud, Morales (Velamazán 63'), De la Peña (Martín Posse 72'); Milosevic, Tamudo. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Alavés: Téllez, Llorens, Luis Helguera, Magno for Edu Alonso, Abelardo, Pablo, Rubén Navarro / Espanyol: Morales for Roger.

0-1. 18. Milosevic. Turned ball past keeper after Maxi stepped over Tamudo cross.
1-1. 32. Jordi Cruyff. First time volley in off post from Llorens cross.
2-1. 77. Soldevilla (own goal). Turned ball in with knee from Rubén Navarro cross.

Javier Clemente's Espanyol are in deep trouble after they lost 2-1 at Alavés. With all the teams above them winning, a five point gap has opened up between them and eighteenth placed Rayo Vallecano, and although there is still over half a season to get out of the relegation zone, it is going to be an uphill battle. Alavés were a direct rival for the relegation spots, and they themselves were only a point above the bottom three before the game began.

The statistics were against the visitors, with six losses and three draws in their nine previous visits to the Mandizorroza stadium, and the Vitoria based side having clocked up five home games without defeat. Clemente kept faith in Iván De la Peña, and the "Little Buddha" proved he still had something to offer, testing Dutruel a couple of times with his free kicks and working well to set up his colleagues. With ten minutes gone Milosevic got on the end of one of his dead ball kicks, but his header was weak and the keeper had no problems in stopping it. At the other end Magno had an opportunity to score, but soon afterwards Milosevic put the visitors in front, finishing off after Maxi cleverly stepped over a cross in from Tamudo.

Alavés drew level just after the half hour mark when Jordi Cruyff got on the end of a long cross from Llorens to volley a spectacular shot in off the post. The visitors were still looking good though, and came closest to scoring up until the moment that Clemente had to take off a tired De la Peña. A few minutes later Mané's side got a fortunate winning goal, Soldevilla turning the ball past Sergio Sánchez into his own net after substitute Rubén Navarro played the ball across goal. Espanyol slumped, and Ilie almost made it three in the dying minutes as the fans cheered him on. A good result for the home side, but Clemente at least has the consolation that his side played better football. Now they need to turn that into points.