First Division - Day 36

Racing Santander 5 - Espanyol 2

Racing: Ceballos; Bakhar, Juanma, Pablo Casar, Neru; Diego Mateo, Nafti; Munitis (Pablo Lago 64'), Benayoun, Javi Guerrero; Bodipo (Regueiro 48'). 4-2-3-1.
Espanyol: Toni; Fredson (Alex Fernández 70'), Torricelli, Lopo, Soldevilla, David García; Maxi, Domoraud (Martín Posse 58'), Oscar (Velamazán 58'), De la Peña; Milosevic. 5-4-1.

Team changes: Racing: Ceballos, Bakhar, Juanma, Bodipo for Lemmens, Coromina, Moratón, Regueiro / Espanyol: De la Peña for Roger.

1-0. 05. Bodipo. Shot from wide angle after Benayoun set him up.
2-0. 40. Bodipo. Ran on to score after passing move by Guerrero and Benayoun.
2-1. 64. Milosevic. Low shot after Oscar touched on pass from midfield.
3-1. 75. Javi Guerrero. Turned in Regueiro low cross on far post.
4-1. 78. Pablo Casar. Glancing header from Benayoun's wide free kick.
5-1. 82. Pablo Casar. Headed home corner from right of goal.
5-2. 87. Maxi. Drove shot wide of Ceballos from Alex Fernández free kick.

The pundits had marked this game down as a scoreless draw, assuming that both would be happy to settle for a point to keep them away from the drop zone. In the end though it was quite the opposite, although the fact that they kicked off knowing that the three relegation places had already been all but resolved earlier in the evening had something to do with the way the game panned out. The relief was evident on the faces as the teams came out, and although Recreativo's match still had a little time to run, knowledge that they were losing late in the game meant that the pressure was off.

The visitors had gone twelve games without defeat, but they were swamped right from the start and found themselves behind in the fifth minute when Bodipo beat Toni after good work by Benayoun. The only real attempt at goal by the Catalans came from an Oscar header late in the half which was saved by Ceballos, who was deputising for Lemmens, dropped following rumours that he had signed for Espanyol for next season. Play went up the other end, Guerrero and Benayoun combined with some one touch football and Bodipo finished off with his second goal of the night.

A minute after the restart Bodipo was stretchered off after a hard tackle from Lopo, and a few minutes later Milosevic pulled a goal back. However Lopo picked up a second booking with twenty minutes to go to leave his side with ten men, and Javi Guerrero restored the two goal cushion soon afterwards from Regueiro's cross. Pablo Casar joined in the fun after that, heading his first two goals for his side from two dead ball kicks, and Maxi scored a late consolation goal at the end. A festival of football, which could have been very different if it had been played a day before.