Apr 28, 2013 at 11am UK at ​Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Espanyol
0-1
Granada

Capdevila (84')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Nolito (37')
Roberto (45')

Live Commentary: Espanyol 0-1 Granada - as it happened

Cornella El-Prat
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat as Granada record a 1-0 win over Espanyol.

Granada travelled to Espanyol on Sunday knowing that three points at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat would move them out of the relegation zone.

A fairly low-key first period brought just the one goal as Nolito curled a free kick into the top corner after 37 minutes to leave Granada ahead at the interval.

The home side had a host of chances to level in the latter stages, but they could not make the breakthrough as Granada held on for a vital victory.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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10.31amMorning all! Thank you for joining me on your Sunday morning as the first of four La Liga clashes gets underway. It has been some turnaround for Espanyol, who were bottom of the table in December. However, Granada are very much in the relegation scrap as we approach the final stages of the season.

10.34amIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, both have won one of the last three with the other ending in a draw. As mentioned, the reverse fixture earlier in the season ended in a goalless draw. But Espanyol were 3-0 winners in the corresponding match last season. Another three points would keep their hopes of Europe alive.

10.37amAn impressive 2-0 win over Getafe last time out was the home side’s third win in their last five matches, remaining unbeaten during that period. In truth, the club have not looked back since Javier Aguirre took charge. It is a surprise that the Mexican is not linked with the very big clubs when managerial positions become available.

10.40amEspanyol will enter the match boasting a decent home record, winning six of their 16 matches, losing seven times in the process. However, it was been on the road where they have impressed this season with five wins from 16 matches, taking 19 points in the process. That is just four less than Champions League-chasers Real Sociedad.

10.43amTEAMS:

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Moreno, Capdevilla, Forlin, Sanchez; Verdu, Mubarak, Lopez, Baena; Garcia, Stuani

GRANADA: Roberto; Diakhate, Siqueira, Mainz, Nyom; Santos, Brahimi, Nolito, Rico; Torje, El-Arabi


10.46amSo there we have it. No real surprises in the Espanyol team, with Sergio Garcia and Christian Stuani once more leading the line. Verdu also starts as one of seven Spaniards in the Espanyol 11. Granada, meanwhile, are much-changed from last time out with Iriney Santos, Nolito, Brahimi and El-Arabi all coming into the side. However, there is no place for Diego Buonanotte.

10.49amGranada, meanwhile, are in desperate need of the points as we approach the latter stages of the season. Their 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid last time out ended their run of three straight defeats, but results on Saturday have dropped them into the relegation zone. That said, three points this afternoon would elevate them out of trouble.

10.52amDespite losing 10 matches on the road this season, Granada have picked up 14 points from their 16 matches away from home. Far from spectacular, but that is 10 more points than Celta Vigo, who currently sit 16th in the table. Granada have struggled on their own patch, however, winning just three of their 16 matches.

10.55amWhen analysing the statistics, it is not difficult to see where Granada have struggled this season. They have managed just 28 goals in their 32 matches thus far, the second-worst record in the league. Meanwhile, Espanyol have found the back of the net 42 times. Down the other end, Granada have conceded 51 in contrast to Espanyol’s 42.

10.58amHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged, just about time for my pre-match prediction. There is no question who is in the better form, but Granada have caused a few shocks on the road this season. That said, I am backing Espanyol to pick up all three points.

0 minJust a reminder of the main team news. Garcia and Stuani continue in attack for Espanyol, while Baena and Javi Lopez come into the midfield. Granada, meanwhile, hand starts to Iriney Santos, Brahimi and El-Arabi, but Aranda drops to the bench. Right, the home side get the action underway on this mild afternoon in Barcelona.

2 minNot a full house inside the stadium this afternoon, but there is a strong atmosphere. It has been a wet weekend in Barcelona, but the rain has stopped for this match. Bright start from the home side as Mubarak drives down the left before delivering a low cross into the box, but Mainz steps across to clear under pressure from Garcia.

4 minNeither side has really settled in the early stages with both guilty of poor passing in midfield. A half-chance almost falls for El-Arabi as the striker meets a cross from Nolito, but Moreno is on hand to make the block. Granada launch another attack moments later, but Rico can only fire high and wide of the crossbar.

6 minHalf-chance for the home side this time as Garcia attempts to meet a through pass from Sanchez, but Roberto comes off his line to clear at the vital moment. The end-to-end period of the match continues as Iriney Santos searches out Torje, but Casilla was always the favourite.

8 minJust a few signs that Espanyol are starting to take control of the match as they pen Granada into their own half. Eventually Capdevilla tries his luck from outside the box, but it was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - will be decisive in this type of match.

10 minAgain it's really bright work from the home side as Verdu combines with Mubarak before finding Garcia on the right, but Nyom is across to clear for a corner. The resulting set piece is whipped into the box by Mubarak, but Mainz is first to react. Granada attempt to break, but the ball is just not sticking in the final third.

12 minCHANCE! Espanyol continue to boss proceedings as Verdu finds Sanchez in the box, the Spaniard thumps an effort towards goal, but it deflects high and wide of the crossbar. Back-to-back corners follow, but the first is palmed over by Roberto before Moreno heads the second over the crossbar. One-way traffic at the moment.

14 minNot too many Granada supporters in the stadium this afternoon, but they are making their voices heard. Unfortunately there appears to be a rain cloud over the stadium, which could turn the weather at any given moment. Better from Granada as El-Arabi meets a free kick from Rico, but his header is high and wide of the crossbar.

16 minAgain Granada try their luck from distance as Brahimi thumps one from outside the box, but Casilla was always comfortable dealing with the danger. Espanyol attempt to break, but Stuani is felled by Mainz. The tempo has just been interrupted in the last few minutes with the referee called into action to deal with a number of challenges.

18 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes, but Espanyol do look the team more likely to make something happen. Again Garcia is involved as he collects a long pass from Stuani before cutting into the box, but the Spaniard just loses control at the vital moment. Still 0-0 with 18 minutes on the clock in Barcelona.

21 minJust a reminder that Granada have only scored 28 goals in their 32 matches this season, which is a clear indication of their struggles. In truth, they have not looked like finding the back of the net thus far this afternoon. Garcia carries the fight once more for Espanyol as he strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. Still goalless as the first period continues to gather pace.

23 minEspanyol have just lost their way in the last few minutes with the final pass going astray on too many occasions. Granada are enjoying more of the ball in the middle of the park, but they have not looked like scoring in the opening 23 minutes. That said, their supporters continue to drown out the home fans. There can only be about 100 of them.

25 minMuch more of an even contest as Granada continue to pass and probe outside the Espanyol box, but they are struggling to find that elusive final pass. In truth, the quality of their football has not been the problem this season, rather their inability to find the back of the net. Not too much from the home side in the last five minutes or so.

27 minHalf-chance for the home side as Mubarak strikes a volley from a wide position, but the angle was always against him. An opportunity for Granada arrives moments later as El-Arabi finds Torje with a header, but the attacker just could not sort out his feet in the box. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

29 minSlightly scrappy period of the match in the last few minutes with both sides guilty of a host of poor challenges. However, the referee has not yet taken to his pocket. In fairness, the tackles are more late than malicious. Still no real chances for either side as we enter the latter stages of the half. This match could easily be won by the odd goal.

32 minSlight problem for Siqueira as the Granada defender clashes with Forlin, but it does appear that he will be fit to continue, despite having to leave on a stretcher. Garcia is again the target for the Espanyol attack moments later, but the Spaniard is immediately surrounded by two defenders. We have not seen too much from Stuani in the opening 32 minutes of the match.

34 minBetter from the home side in the last couple of moments as they twice find dangerous balls into the box, but the first is headed clear by Mainz before Roberto comes through traffic to claim the second. El-Arabi demonstrates his pace down the other end moments later, but he was always running down a blind ally. Little over 10 minutes of the half remaining.

36 minThe rain has just started to fall in Barcelona, which will certainly make the pitch quicker. A half-chance arrives for the home side as Stuani wins the aerial battle with Diakhate, but the powerful striker can only head Garcia's cross wide of the post. Diakhate makes a fine block moments later, but it catches him flush in the face.

37 minGood grief that was a nasty one. Garcia struck a powerful effort straight into the face of Diakhate, who was just five yards in front of the striker. However, the defender is certainly made of stern stuff and returns to his feet in a matter of moments. Little over five minutes of the half remaining with the two sides still level at 0-0.

37 minGOAL! Espanyol 0-1 Granada (Nolito)

38 minGranada lead! It was going to take something special to open the scoring this afternoon, and that is indeed the case. Granada win a free kick as Torje is felled by Sanchez outside the box. Nolito steps up before curling his effort into the top corner. Wonderful from the Spaniard.

40 minAguirre looks perplexed on the sidelines as he wonders how his team are behind at this stage of the match. The home side attempt to force the issue immediately as Garcia combines with Stuani before curling a wonderful cross into the box, but Roberto comes out to collect at the vital moment.

43 minEspanyol continue to dominate the possession in the latter stages of the half, but Granada have been fairly tight defensively thus far. Just a reminder that three points for the away side would move them out of the bottom three. However, you just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals this afternoon.

45 minNot too much to report in the latter stages of the first period with Espanyol struggling to find that elusive final pass. Meanwhile, a host of fouls has further slowed the tempo in the final minute. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes at the end of the half.

45 min+2Half-chance for the home side as Garcia delivers a dangerous cross into the box, but Roberto is out to punch clear. El-Arabi attempts to craft something down the other end moments later, but the striker had no real support. That is just about that for the first period as Roberto picks up a booking for timewasting.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Espanyol 0-1 Granada

11.50amSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Granada leading 1-0 courtesy of a free kick from Nolito after 37 minutes. Espanyol certainly started the better, but faded in the latter stages. In truth, it has been a match of few clear opportunities.

11.55amSTATISTICS: The home side have dominated the possession with 66%, while they have had three attempts to Granada's two. However, neither goalkeeper has been too busy with Granada's only effort on target bringing their goal, while Espanyol have only had one strike on target. Just the one yellow card, meanwhile, with Roberto booked for timewasting in the latter stages of the half.

12pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench this afternoon in the shape of Martin Petrov, Cristian Gomez and Christian Alfonso. Meanwhile, Granada have the likes of Aranda, Buonanotte and Odion Ighalo in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either side at the interval which is not too surprising at this stage of the match. As it stands, Granada would move into 16th, while Espanyol would remain 10th. Right, the away side get the half underway.

48 minDecent start to the second half from the home side as Garcia collects possession in a wide area before drilling a low cross into the box, but Siqueira is on hand to clear the danger. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could decide the outcome of this match. Granada launch an attack of their own moments later, but the danger is cleared.

50 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Verdu wins a free kick just outside the box, Verdu takes the set piece, but his effort is straight into the arms of the Granada goalkeeper. The away side launch an attack of their own moments later, but Torje's cross is plucked out the air by Casilla. Bright opening five minutes to the half.

52 minBoth managers are very animated on the sidelines at the moment, but it is Granada who have just started to take control of the possession. Another opportunity arrives as Iriney Santos strikes an effort from outside the box, but if flashes wide of the post. You can almost sense the frustration from the home supporters.

54 minIt's really bright work from Garcia as the Espanyol forward darts past two defenders before delivering a dangerous cross into the box, but it was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Just a reminder that neither manager has made a change thus far, although I expect that will change in the next 15 minutes or so.

56 minGood pressure from the home side in the last couple of moments as they continue to pass and probe outside the Granada box, but they just cannot find that elusive final ball. Eventually Garcia whips a dangerous cross towards Stuani, but his header is over the bar. Espanyol do indeed make a change, meanwhile, as Petrov replaces Sanchez.

58 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as El-Arabi strikes an effort from outside the box, but Casilla is down to make the save. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining, with Granada still leading courtesy of that Nolito free kick. However, there is still a lot of football to be played in Barcelona. Can Espanyol turn it around?

61 minThe corner count continues to rise as Petrov whips another cross into the box, but Nyom is on hand to clear. Meanwhile, the rain is really coming down at the moment, which is contributing to a fast-paced match. Real sense of frustration from the home supporters, however, as each attack continues to break down at the vital moment.

63 minThe tempo has just been interrupted in the last few moments with both sides guilty of fouls in the opposing third. The latest free kick allows Rico the chance to test Casilla from distance, but his effort just flashes past the far post. Garcia is involved down the other end moments later, but it comes to nothing once more.

65 minGranada have the ball in the back of the net as Nolito finds the corner from a wide position, but the whistle had already gone for a free kick. The Espanyol frustration grows, however, as Baena strikes high and wide from outside the box. Little over 25 minutes of football remaining in Barcelona.

67 minGranada simply cannot get out of their own half at the moment as the home side push their full backs into advanced positions. It truly is backs against the wall, but Granada have been good defensively this afternoon and indeed this season. Espanyol want a penalty as Mubarak goes down in the box, but once more the referee isn't interested.

69 minGranada make their first change of the match as Ighalo replaces Brahimi, who has tired in the second period. Without speaking too soon, it is incredible how the teams at the bottom of the table keep grinding out results. The battle is well and truly on to remain in the division. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining in Barcelona.

72 minAnother half-chance for Garcia as the Spaniard meets a corner from Verdu, but his header is high and wide of the crossbar. Espanyol are certainly enjoying more of the possession, but Granada are doing well to break up the play. However, you do get the feeling that there will be chances in the latter stages. This one is far from over that is for certain.

74 minAgain Mubarak is involved for the home side as he collects possession in a wide area before driving a low cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Garcia, who had made a late run into the box. Granada attempt to break with Torje, but they just cannot keep possession. Little over 15 minutes of football remaining.

76 minEspanyol are certainly getting closer as Verdu finds Capdevila in the box, but Roberto is out to claim at the vital moment. Meanwhile, Granada make their second change of the match as Torje is replaced by Juanma Ortiz. No question that the away side will attempt to shut up shop in the latter stages.

78 minCHANCE! Another wonderful opportunity for the home side as Garcia drives a low cross into the box, but somehow Nyom is across to clear under pressure from Stuani. Surely this constant pressure will bring a goal in the latter stages? Little over 10 minutes of football remaining.

81 minIt would be no exaggeration to say that Granada have not been out of their own half in the last 10 minutes or so. Still the pressure remains as Garcia curls an effort towards the top corner, but it just moves high and wide of the crossbar. Stuani battles with Diakhate in the box moments later, but the defender comes out on top.

83 minHalf-chance for Granada on the counter as a poor pass from Petrov allows Iriney to burst into the Espanyol half, but El-Arabi is ruled offside. Stuani tests Roberto down the other end moments later, but the Granada stopper makes the save. The away side make their third and final change of the match, meanwhile, as Aranda replaces El-Arabi.

85 minDecent period of possession for the away side in the last couple of moments, with Capdevila entering the book for a late challenge on Ortiz. The resulting free kick is taken short, but eventually possession is back with Espanyol. Little over five minutes of football remaining with Granada still leading 1-0.

88 minAnother half-chance comes and goes for the home side as Petrov floats a free kick straight of play, which brings a look from Stuani which tells the whole story. Despite controlling possession, Granada have not been overly concerned with the Espanyol threat. However, you just get the feeling that another chance will arrive.

90 minNot too much to report in terms of clear opportunities in the last couple of moments with the home side resorting to long balls into the Granada box, which is playing into the hands of Mainz and Diakhate. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of stoppage time.

90 min+3Both managers are very animated on the sidelines, but it is Granada who are moments away from a famous win. A win that would take them out of the bottom three. Half-chance for the away side as Ortiz tries his luck from outside the box, but it flashes past the post. Little over a minute of stoppage time remaining.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Espanyol 0-1 Granada

12.53pmSo there we have it. Granada hold on to secure all three points, a result that moves them out of the bottom three. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us for more La Liga football from 3.30pm. Until then!

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