Mar 3, 2013 at 4pm UK at ​Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Espanyol
0-0
Real Valladolid
 
FT

Larsson (48')

Live Commentary: Espanyol 0-0 Real Valladolid - as it happened

Espanyol's Sergio Garcia celebrates his goal on December 16, 2012
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat as Espanyol and Real Valladolid draw 0-0.

Espanyol welcomed Real Valladolid to the Estadi Cornella-El Prat on Sunday with both sides comfortable in midtable.

Neither could open the scoring in a low-key first period, with the two sides entering the break level at 0-0.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with neither team able to open the scoring as the points were shared in a goalless draw.

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


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3.31pmAfternoon all! The first of three back-to-back matches in La Liga comes from Espanyol as the home side welcome Real Valladolid. Espanyol certainly enter the match in the better form, but each of the last two matches between these two sides has ended in a draw, a 1-1 draw at that. Will it be third time lucky for either team?

3.34pmWhen Javier Aguirre took charge of Espanyol, many had already written off their chances of survival. Well, that is certainly not the case now. The home side have taken 13 points from their last six matches, the same total as Barcelona, to move into 13th position in the table. Only a serious collapse would see them relegated from this position.

3.37pmThey sit eight points clear of the relegation zone, with their attention now focused upwards. It is perhaps out of the question to discuss a European finish, but a strong end to the season would certainly see them finish in the top half of the table, which will be a minor miracle based on their struggles in the early part of the season.

3.40pmTEAMS:

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Colotto, Moreno, Capdevilla, Raul; Simao, Verdu, Victor, Lopez; Garcia, Longo

VALLADOLID: Hernandez; Sereno, Rukavina, Balenziaga, Rueda; Rubio, Omar, Sastre; Manucho, Larsson, Bueno


3.43pmSo there we have it. Espanyol boss Aguirre hands a start to Samuele Longo in attack alongside Sergio Garcia, with Christian Stuani dropping to the bench. Valladolid, meanwhile, recall Manucho to their starting side. The former Manchester United striker will form part of a three-man attack alongside Larsson and Bueno.

3.46pmEspanyol's home record this season has been fairly impressive with six wins from 13 matches, but they have suffered four defeats in the process. Meanwhile, their form on the road has been slightly disappointing with just two wins from 12 matches. In truth, the only statistic that will worry Aguirre is where they finish at the end of the season.

3.49pmValladolid, meanwhile, have been fairly solid in recent weeks with eight points from their last six matches, suffering just two defeats in the process. They have hardly turned heads this season, but will be comfortable with their current position of 11th spot in the table. Only a major collapse would see them pulled into trouble.

3.52pmTheir away form has been quite impressive with four wins from 12 matches, which is the same number as Valencia and one less than Malaga. It has been their home form that would have disappointed them with just five wins from 13 matches, taking 19 points in the process.

3.55pmTaking a look at their numbers this season, they are a clear reflection of their place in the table. They have conceded 33 times, which is just three more than Barcelona, while they have scored 34 times, which works out to just over 1.36 goals per game. Let’s hope that we have an open afternoon of football in the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.


3.58pmHere 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. On paper, both of these teams are extremely well-matched. It's a score draw for me.

0 minRight, just a quick reminder of the main team news. Espanyol pair Longo and Garcia in attack, while there are also starting berths for Javi Lopez and Victor Sanchez. Valladolid also make changes with Manucho back in the team alongside Bueno in attack. Here we go then. The away side get the action underway.

2 minEspanyol enter the match having won three of their last five games in the league, but Valladolid have also been in good form of late. The first half-chance of the match comes to the home side as Garcia beats the offside trap before advancing into the box, but his final effort is just wide of the post. Lively opening to proceedings.

4 minNeither side has really settled into the early stages of this match with both guilty of hanging away possession in midfield. Espanyol once more spread the play with Garcia finding Lopez, but the Spaniard's cross is headed clear by Sereno. You just get the feeling that the first goal could be decisive in this particular clash.

6 minJust a few signs that Espanyol have started to find their feet with Verdu, Victor Sanchez & Co. seeing plenty of the ball. The former collects possession before looking for the run of Garcia once more, but Hernandez is out to collect. Valladolid look long for Manucho moments later, but his flick-on comes to nothing.

8 minDecent pressure from Valladolid in the last couple of minutes with Manucho seeing more of the ball in the final third. Larsson attempts to feed off the powerful striker, but there are just so many bodies in the middle. Sastre attempts to work space for a shot moments later, but it is just ever so narrow. Almost like kids football.

10 minIt must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium in the early stages of this match. This is a proper football ground there is no doubt about that. Again Valladolid attempt to force the issue with a high ball towards Manucho, but his header is collected by Casilla. Longo has a half-chance down the other end, but he slips at the vital moment.

12 minEnd-to-end football at the moment, but neither side has really threatened to open the scoring. A strike comes from Longo, but his effort is straight at the Valladolid goalkeeper. Manucho causes all sorts of problems down the other end with his power, but Moreno is on hand to turn behind for a corner.

14 minIncredible tempo to this match at the moment as both sides continue to commit numbers to each attack. It is almost like watching a basketball match. However, that does not say a lot about the quality in the final third, with each team struggling for ideas in the opposing box. It is the type of match that could do with a goal.

16 minSimao attempts to go alone for the home side as he collects possession before driving down the left, but Sereno is across to make the challenge at the vital moment. Espanyol are certainly in control in terms of the possession, but we are still waiting for the first real chance of the afternoon with 16 minutes on the clock.

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18 minIn keeping with the tempo of the match, Valladolid advance immediately down the other end with Omar, the Spaniard strikes an effort from a wide position, but it was always bending wide of the post. No signs that either team are prepared to sit in and absorb the pressure. Enthralling opening to this La Liga tie.

20 minSlight stoppage in play as Colotto hits the deck under a high challenge with Manucho. The Valladolid striker is not really the man you want to be jumping into a headed challenge with. However, following a brief spell of treatment the defender is deemed fit to continue. The opening 20 minutes of this fixture has just flown by. The score remains 0-0.

22 minLongo just needs to be careful here. The Espanyol striker has got himself involved in a couple of incidents with the Valladolid defence. But the referee is yet to issue any cards. A half-chance comes to the home side as Sanchez meets a cross from Garcia, but his header was always moving wide of the post.

24 minValladolid create a half-chance on the counter as Omar fires a cross into the box towards Manucho, but the powerful striker can only head wide of the post. The referee indicates a deflection with the resulting corner floated towards the six-yard box, but Casilla comes a long way to clear. Uncomfortable moment for the home side.

26 minCHANCE! Double chance for the home side as Garcia robs possession from Rueda in the penalty area. His first effort is saved by the goalkeeper before Rueda gets back to block the second. That really should have been the opening goal. The resulting corner is headed over the crossbar by Capdevilla.

28 minNot too much to report in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of handing away possession in midfield. Much of the Valladolid threat has come via Manucho, while Espanyol have looked for Garcia at each opportunity. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, with the score still level at 0-0.

30 minBoth managers have their arms crossed as they parade the touchline, which just about sums up the opening 30 minutes of this match. Both teams have played some decent stuff at times, but neither has offered a real goal threat. On the face of it, a point apiece would not be the worst result in the world.

32 minIt's good work from the home side as Verdu combines with Garcia around the edge of the box, but the final ball into the penalty area is just too short for Longo. In keeping with the end-to-end period of the match, Valladolid have an effort down the other end from Larsson, but it was always moving wide of the post.

34 minThe quality in the final third just needs to be a bit better at the moment with each attack breaking down at the vital moment. Neither side is really in control of the possession as they continue to exchange attacks. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining in Espanyol.

36 minAn extended period of pressure from Espanyol comes close to bringing the opening goal, but Valladolid manage to clear the danger at the vital moment. Lopez wants a free kick just outside the penalty area under a challenge from Sereno, but the referee is simply not interested.

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38 minFirst sign of ill-feeling in this match as the challenge continue to fly in from both teams. In truth, this opening 38 minutes has been quite hard work. Plenty of attacking football, but lacking in clear quality. You just get the feeling that the first goal in this match could be the last. It has that kind of feel.

40 minThe home side are forced into their first change of the match as Gomez replaces Colotto. The latter did appear to be suffering following a clash of heads in the early stages of proceedings. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining and we are still waiting for our first real chance of the afternoon.

42 minDecent pressure from the home side in the last couple of moments with the likes of Lopez, Verdu and Simao passing and probing outside the Valladolid box. However, there is just no way through for Espanyol. On the face of it, neither manager will be too disappointed with the scores still level.

45 minReally scrappy period of the match in the last few minutes with neither side taking too much care in possession, while both teams have been guilty of giving away needless free kicks. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes at the end of the half.

45 min+2Half-chance for Verdu as the Espanyol skipper collects possession outside the box before striking towards the top corner, but his effort was always rising. That is just about that for the first period of football.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Espanyol 0-0 Valladolid

4.50pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. There has been plenty of end-to-end football, but in truth, both sides have lacked real quality in the final third. Hardly a classic 45 minutes of La Liga football.

4.54pmSTATISTICS: The home side have just shaded the possession with 51%, while they have had one attempt to Valladolid's none. That just about sums up the opening half. There has yet to be booking in the match, although there has been a host of scrappy challenges from both teams.

4.58pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench with Petrov, Stuani and Alvarez capable of influencing proceedings. Meanwhile, Valladolid have the kikes of Oscar Gonzalez and Pena in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list.

5.02pmJust a reminder of what we have to come this evening. Following the completion of this match we have action from Malaga as the home side welcome Atletico Madrid. The final match, which is scheduled for an 8pm start, sees Real Sociedad welcome Real Betis. Be sure to remain with us for the action.

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46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. The home side make one change at the interval with Wakaso replacing Longo, who seemed to be pick up a slight knock at the end of the first period. The home side get the half underway.

48 minDecent start to the half from the away side as Sastre dances down the right before firing a low cross into the box, but Manucho just cannot make contact at the vital moment, much to his frustration. The powerful striker certainly has looked their most potent threat thus far. Let's hope for more clear chances as the half advances.

50 minThe first booking of the match is handed to Larsson as the Swede dives into a late challenge with Capdevilla. Not the best of tackles that is for certain. The resulting free kick is fired long towards Garcia, but the Spaniard just cannot turn on the edge of the box under pressure from two defenders. The tempo of the match has continued into this half.

52 minSlightly bitty period of the match in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of committing a host of fouls. The latest allows Espanyol the chance to whip a cross into the penalty area, but Victor's cross is headed clear by Sereno. We really need a goal in this match. The crowd are crying out for one.

54 minAgain Garcia is involved for Espanyol as he dances into the penalty area before feeding a low pass towards Wakaso, but the striker is just a yard short, allowing Rubio the chance to clear. Just a few signs that Espanyol are starting to force the issue as Garcia chips an effort just wide of the post.

56 minValladolid just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as Espanyol continue to fire crosses into their penalty area. Two corners follow in quick succession, but the first is cleared by Sereno before Hernandez claims the second. Valladolid attempt to break with Bueno, but the Spaniard never had enough pace to move beyond Moreno.

58 minLittle over 30 minutes of football remaining and we are still waiting for our first real chance of the match. The home side have definitely started to force it in the last few moments, but they just cannot find that elusive final pass. It does appear that Aguirre could be ready to make a couple of changes in order to freshen his midfield.

61 minAgain Lopez is involved for Espanyol as he drives down the left before cutting a cross into the box, but there are no takers. Hernandez attempts to find Manucho down the other end, but the striker was standing in an offside position. In fairness to the supporters, the atmosphere remains electric in the stadium.

63 minDecent pressure from the away side in the last couple of moments as they force two corners in quick succession, but neither really troubles the Espanyol defence. It is quite a strong statement, but this is just about the poorest La Liga match that I have seen this season in terms of quality in the final third. It just has to be better for this level.

65 minAguirre continues to issue instructions from the sidelines as he waves his arms around in a frantic motion. However, it has done nothing to lift the tempo of this match. It is almost like a training match, with neither side prepared to pick up an injury. Another corner comes into the Valladolid box, but once more the danger is cleared. That is just about it in terms of chances.


68 minIt's Valladolid's turn to enjoy a period with the ball as Sastre collects on the right before driving a low cross into the box, but Moreno is on hand to make the challenge. Confusion does arrive in the Espanyol box from the resulting corner, but the danger is scrambled clear by a mixture of Casilla and Raul.

70 minMeanwhile, Valladolid make another change as Victor replaces Bueno, who has just struggled to combine with Manucho in the final third. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining and still neither side can open the scoring. Will there be a sting in the tail in the latter stages?

72 minIt's better from Espanyol as Garcia finds Verdu in the penalty area before collecting the return, but Sereno is across to make a fine challenge at the vital moment. Another opportunity comes from the resulting corner, but Simao can only head wide of the post. We are getting to the stage where one goal would be enough to pick up the points.

75 minA half-chance comes to the away side as Larsson is felled outside the penalty area. The resulting free kick is taken by Sastre, but he fires it high and wide of the post. If ever the match could be summed up with one clip, then that would be it. It has been far from a classic that is for certain. Just about 15 minutes remaining.

77 minIt's good pace from Omar as the Valladolid midfielder drives into the penalty area, but he is stopped in his tracks by Colotto. The Argentine embarks on a similar run of his own, but it is the same end result. You get the feeling that we could play all night and there would not be a goal.

80 minGomez has a half-chance for the home side as he strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. The fact that we have not had a clear chance in this match with 80 minutes on the clock tells the story. However, there is still plenty of time for one of these sides to win it in the final stages.

82 minBoth sides continue to commit players to each attack, but the distinct lack of quality remains with neither side capable of testing the opposing goalkeeper. That said, as mentioned in the very early stages, a point apiece would not be the worst result in the world for either team this afternoon.

84 minThe away side make another change as Manucho is replaced by Javi Guerra. Unfortunately for the powerful striker, he has just had no service, especially in the second period. Little over five minutes of football remaining and still the score remains goalless. Come on, let's have a late strike here.

87 minJust a reminder that following the completion of this match we have live commentary from Malaga against Atletico Madrid. I have a feeling that you will not want to miss it. The referee has just been called into action in the latter stages as the challenges continue to fly in. It is almost as if both teams have accepted a share of the spoils here.

89 minI would love to be able to reveal that there have been a host of chances in the final minute with both sides desperately searching for the winner, but I am afraid that has not been the case. Little over one minute of normal time remaining. The possession has belonged to Espanyol, but neither side has done enough to win.

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90 min+1The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes of added time and we are indeed into the first of those. Valladolid have possession in the Espanyol half, but they are simply not interested in attacking. Just over one minute of time remaining.

90 min+2FULL-TIME: Espanyol 0-0 Real Valladolid

5.52pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the match to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Malaga against Atletico Madrid. Until then!

Kaka
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