Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat as Espanyol hold Valencia to a 3-3 draw.
By Matt Law, European Football Editor Filed: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 18:52 UK
Last Updated: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 09:55 UK
Valencia travelled to Espanyol on Saturday looking for the three points to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
The opening period brought just the single goal, with Mubarak Wakaso finishing off a slick move with a powerful header moments before the interval.
Valencia were level early in the second half, however, when Sergio Canales coolly found the back of the net after 53 minutes.
Both sides had chances in the latter stages, but it was the home side that took the lead courtesy of a powerful strike from Verdu after 82 minutes.
There was time for late drama with Jonas levelling for Valencia before Roberto Soldado sent Valencia 3-2 ahead in stoppage time.
It did not prove to be the winner, however, as Sergio Garcia levelled for Espanyol with the final kick of the game.
Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.
6.52pmEvening all! Our penultimate La Liga live commentary of the day comes from the Cornella-El Prat as Espanyol welcome Valencia. Having struggled in the early part of the season, Espanyol are now targeting a finish in the top half of the table. Valencia, meanwhile, have Champions League football on their minds.
6.54pmIn terms of the previous meetings between the two sides, Valencia have enjoyed the best of it with three wins from the last five matches. As mentioned, they were 2-1 winners in the reverse match at the beginning of the season, but Espanyol were winners in this stadium in the corresponding match last season.
6.56pmAs it stands, Espanyol sit in 12th position in the table. Victory this evening could move them into the top half of the table, which would be just a remarkable turnaround from Javier Aguirre’s side. Valencia, meanwhile, currently occupy fifth spot in the table, just two points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad with eight matches to play.
VALENCIA: Guaita; R Costa, Pereira, Mathieu, Guardado; Banega, A Costa, Parejo; Canales, Soldado, Jonas
0 minSo there we have it. Just a quick word on the main team news. Sergio Garcia is fit for the home side despite a knock last time out, while Verdu and Victor Sanchez also start. Valencia, meanwhile, hand starts to Dani Parejo and Sergio Canales. The home side get the action underway at the El Prat.
2 minNot a full house inside the stadium, but there is certainly a strong atmosphere. Just a reminder that Espanyol were bottom of the table in December, but have since been on a fine run of form. Valencia made their worst start to a La Liga season in 13 years, but are now in Champions League contention. Game on!
4 minIt must be said that the pitch is not in the best condition, with the rain falling over the last couple of days. Bright start from Valencia as Guardado collects possession on the left before whipping a cross into the box, but Moreno is on hand to make the challenge, before a Pereira cross is turned behind by Forlin.
6 minFirst sign of the home side as an attacking threat as Victor Sanchez fires a low cross into the box, it evades Guaita, but Guardado is on hand to turn clear. But for the Mexican's interception, Garcia would have turned home from close range. Capdevila delivers a cross moments later, but this time the Valencia goalkeeper is equal to the danger.
8 minThe end-to-end period of the match continues as Guardado collects possession down the left before delivering a low cross into the box, but Colotto is on hand to make the clearance. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - will be vital in this type of match. It remains goalless with eight minutes on the clock this evening.
10 minGood possession from Valencia in the last couple of moments as they pass and probe in the Espanyol half, but neither team has been able to create any clear opportunities thus far. Meanwhile, a host of late challenges have just further slowed the tempo. Soldado does find the back of the net moments later, but the Spaniard is ruled offside.
12 minReplays have shown that Soldado might have just been leaning in a offside position, but I have certainly seen those ones let go. Espanyol attempt to launch a counter down the other end, before Victor Sanchez strikes an effort from outside the box, but Mathieu is on hand to make the block at the near post.
14 minHalf-chance for the away side as Ricardo Costa rises highest in the penalty area to meet a corner from his namesake Tino Costa, but the referee blows his whistle for a foul on the goalkeeper. Garcia has an opportunity down the other end moments later, but Pereira is across at the vital moment to clear for a corner.
16 minJonas is next to try his luck from outside the box as he curls one towards the bottom corner, but Mattioni is across to make the block. The home supporters are doing their best to raise the tempo in the stadium, but it has been a drab opening 16 minutes to this match. It is the type of game that is in desperate need of a goal.
18 minBig penalty shout for the home side as Stuani is felled in the penalty area, but the referee is not interested. Replays have suggested that it should indeed have been given. Safe to say the home players are not best pleased as they surround the referee. Controversial moment in this match.
20 minThe incident appears to have boosted the home side as Moreno and Verdu both have efforts in quick succession, but neither comes close to really worrying the goalkeeper. A free kick follows outside the box moments later, but Verdu's effort is cleared by Guaita. Finally we have some excitement.
22 minThe pressure continues as Espanyol force back-to-back corners, but the first is palmed over by Guaita before Costa heads the second clear of the box. Valencia attempt to launch an attack down the other end with Jonas, but the Brazilian just cannot find the run of Soldado, who we have seen little of thus far.
24 minIt must be said that there is an incredible atmosphere inside the stadium this evening. Not a full house, but the home supporters are creating some noise. Valencia just appeared to have rode out that period of pressure from the home side, but have been unable to really exert their influence thus far. Little over 20 minutes of the first half remaining.
26 minA low cross from Jonas causes all sorts of problems in the home side's box as Colotto and Moreno both miss the ball, but Capdevilla is on hand to make the clearance with Soldado ready to tap home. There have been good attacking opportunities for both sides, but neither has really threatened to open the scoring thus far.
28 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Ricardo Costa is penalised for handling outside the penalty area. The resulting free kick is taken by Verdu, but his effort is straight into the wall. Capdevilla hits the rebound, but it brings the same outcome. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.
31 minSlightly scrappy period of the match in the last few minutes as Colotto dives into a challenge with Soldado, with the referee on hand to award the free kick. The resulting set piece is taken by Tino Costa, but once more his effort is straight into the wall. The match is crying out for some sort of inspiration from somewhere.
33 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Banega evades two challenges before driving into the Espanyol box, but Colotto is across to make the challenge. The resulting corner is whipped into the box by Guardado, but once more the danger is cleared. Both sides exchanging spells of possession with 33 minutes on the clock.
35 minGood possession from the away side in the last couple of moments as they pass and probe outside the box, but the final ball from Jonas is just short. A poor mistake from Parejo allows Garcia to move into the box down the other end, but the Spaniard can only drag his effort wide of the post.
37 minEspanyol have just started to force the issue in the last couple of moments as Garcia finds Stuani in the box, but his effort is straight at the goalkeeper. The resulting corner is taken by Verdu, but once more Ricardo Costa is on hand to make the clearance. Little under 10 minutes of the half remaining.
39 minSlight stoppage in play as Ricardo Costa receives a period of treatment, but it does appear that he will be fit to continue. Espanyol attempt to make use of the extra man as Garcia drives down the left before firing a cross into the box, but Parejo is on hand to make the clearance.
41 minCHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for the home side as Verdu fires an effort towards goal, but Guaita gets down low to make a fine save. The rebound falls straight to Costa, but the striker can only fire over the crossbar. However, the whistle had been blown for offside. Either way, it is a terrible miss.
43 minCosta signals to the bench that he is unable to continue following another high challenge with Stuani. Ernesto Valverde, who is not blessed with defenders at the moment, calls upon Victor Ruiz, who will slot into centre back. That is a huge boost for Espanyol in the latter stages of the half.
45 minNot too much to report in the final moments of the half, with the injury to Costa just taking the tempo out of the match. It is the type of game that could be won by the odd goal. There is a not a lot between these two sides. A free kick is awarded to Valencia down the other end, but Tino Costa's delivery is poor.
45 min+2The home side take the lead in first-half stoppage time, of which there is three minutes, as Garcia floats a high cross into the box, with Wakaso on hand to thump his header into the back of the net. What a time to open the scoring.
7.50pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Espanyol leading courtesy of that late header from Wakaso. Just a reminder that the home side were bottom in December, but they are now targeting a possible European finish. It has been a stunning turnaround.
7.55pmSTATISTICS: The away side have had more of the ball with 62% possession, but they have had just three attempts to Espanyol's five. Meanwhile, the away side have not managed a shot on target thus far. Based on the first period, you would say that the home side just about deserve to be ahead at this stage of the match.
7.59pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench in the shape of Javi Lopez, Martin Petrov and Simao. However, Valencia are not short of attacking intent on the bench with the likes of Jonathan Viera, Nelson Valdez and Feghouli. Can the away side turn things around in the second period?
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, Espanyol would move into 11th position, while Valencia would remain fifth. The away side get the action underway.
48 minExcuse me, there was indeed a change at the interval for the away side with Albelda coming on to replace Tino Costa, who did appear to be carrying a knock. An early opportunity arrives for Valencia as Soldado strikes an effort from close range, but Casilla is on hand to make the save.
50 minValencia continue to force the issue in the second period with a host of crosses into the box, but the home side quells the danger on each occasion. We have not seen too much from Soldado thus far, but I suspect he will have some say on the match in the latter stages. Jonas attempts a cross down the left, but Mattioni clears for a corner.
52 minValencia have remarkably scored just 12 goals away from the Mestalla this season, which is an extremely low total for a side chasing Champions League football. Another half-chance comes down the other end moments later as Sanchez strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving high of the crossbar.
53 minA poor mistake from Mathieu allows Garcia the chance to fire a low cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Stuani with Pereira on hand to make the clearance. The end-to-end period of the match continues as Canales dances into the Espanyol box, but Colotto is on hand to make a fine challenge at the vital moment.
54 minValencia have their equaliser after 53 minutes as Canales collects a pass from Albelda before chipping his effort into the back of the net. Great pass, great finish. Valencia are back in this match. The Espanyol defence just went to sleep there.
56 minThat is Canales's first goal of the season following a host of knee injuries. Suddenly it is all Valencia as Soldado strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always flashing wide of the post. Wakaso has a similar opportunity down the other end, but it brings the same outcome.
58 minSuddenly the match has just burst into life as Soldado fires just wide for the away side before Garcia tries his luck from distance down the other end. No sign that either side will sit back and attempt to hold onto the point in the latter stages. However, a point apiece would not be the worst result for either of these two teams.
60 minIt's good work from Albelda as the Spaniard picks the pocket of Garcia before finding Soldado in the box, but his touch is just too heavy, allowing Casilla to come out and claim. Mathieu finds himself just outside the area moments later, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar.
63 minEspanyol just cannot get out of their own box at the moment as Valencia continue to force high balls into the box, but there is just no way through. I think it would be safe to say that another goal would win this. Neither side has given too much away in defence thus far.
65 minPOST! Wonderful opportunity for the away side as Soldado pounces on a loose ball in the box before turning and striking towards goal, but his effort thumps off the post. Valencia have come out a different team in this second period. Little over 25 minutes of football remaining as another penalty appeal for Espanyol is turned down.
67 minAnother half-chance comes for the home side as Colotto finds Garcia in the penalty box, but the Spaniard just could not sort out his feet in time, allowing Ruiz across to make the challenge. This is a game that both sides feel that they can win. Little over 20 minutes remaining in Espanyol.
69 minSlightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of poor challenges. Stuani - who is never too far from the action - gets involved with Canales as he pushes the Valencia midfielder, but the referee is on hand to calm proceedings. Slightly bitty with little over 20 minutes of football remaining.
72 minWakaso is involved for the home side once more as he tries his luck from outside the box, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. The end-to-end period of the match continues as Soldado turns on the edge of the box before finding Canales, but the midfielder is surrounded by three defenders.
74 minCHANCE! A powerful effort from Verdu almost catches out Guaita, but the Valencia goalkeeper just manages to get a hand on the strike. Wonderful effort from the Espanyol skipper. Wakaso floats a cross into the box moments later, but it is just too long for Stuani.
76 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Capdevila fells Banega just outside the box. Canales stands over the free kick, but his delivery is cleared by Colotto. The danger remains as Parejo whips a searching cross into the box, but Casilla comes through traffic to take the pressure off his back four.
78 minGuardado is involved for the away side moments later as he collects possession on the left before floating a cross into the box, but Casilla is out to claim. Play is stopped moments later, however, as Mattioni hits the deck under a challenge from Soldado. It does not appear that the Brazilian will be able to continue.
80 minIndeed the change is made as Javi Lopez enters the field to replace Mattioni. Meanwhile, Valencia make a change of their own as Canales is replaced by Feghouli. Right, we have little over 10 minutes of football remaining, with the scores level at 1-1. Will we have late drama here?
82 minA draw would not be enough to move Valencia into fourth position this evening, with Real Sociedad currently occupying the final Champions League place. Another half-chance comes for Soldado as he strikes an effort from outside the box, but his effort is straight at the goalkeeper.
82 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last couple of minutes with neither side taking too much care in possession of the ball. But you just get the feeling that there will be one big chance in the remaining five minutes or so. A point is not really enough for either side as they both chase different objectives.
83 minEspanyol lead! It's wonderful work from Wakaso as the midfielder cushions a header towards Verdu, who thumps his effort into the top corner. Stunning goal from the home side. Can Valencia respond in the latter stages?
85 minYou just had a feeling that something would happen in the latter stages of this one. All the credit has to go to Wakaso, who has been just wonderful this evening. Meanwhile, the home side make their second change of the match as Baena replaces Verdu. That is a strange one for me.
87 minWonderful atmosphere inside the stadium as we approach the final two minutes of normal play. Valencia have responded well since falling behind, but have been unable to create anything in the final third. It has not been the best of evenings for Soldado, meanwhile, as the Spaniard's weak shot is save by Casilla.
88 minWow! Where has that come from?! Valencia equal with two minutes to play as Jonas collects a loose ball in the box before stroking his effort into the bottom corner. Poor defending, but a really smart finish from the Brazilian.
90 min+1Espanyol have the ball in the back of the net once more as Colotto strikes an effort from close range, but a number of players were indeed in offside positions. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of stoppage time and we are indeed into the first of those.
90 min+2Oh my word, what a finish to this match. Soldado has not been in this match, but he pops up in the final minute to slot home from inside the box. He may well have just sent his side into fourth position in the table.
90 min+3RED CARD! Raul Rodriguez has received a red card without being on the pitch. The Espanyol substitute appears to have said something to the linesman. Incredible finish to this match.
90 min+4What can I possibly say?! Another goal goes in in the final moment as Garcia pops up in the box to find the corner from close range. The points will be shared following one of the most enthralling matches of the season.
8.53pmWow. Incredible finish to this match with the points being shared in a 3-3 draw. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Malaga against Osasuna. Until then!