Sevilla, coached by Julen Lopetegui, looked for a much-needed victory in order to calm down the home crowd, who has recently suffered too many disappointments due to their team´s last negative results. On the other hand, Espanyol, who are currently bottom of the table, were begging for a win to clim back out of relegation without their top winter sign and goal scoring machine, Raúl de Tomás.
Knowing the delicate situation, Espanyol´s coach Abelardo put his three main midfielders, Marc Roca, Víctor Sánchez and Sergi Darder on the interior to gain superiority in an area where Sevilla only had two, Fernando and Ever Banega. This way, and as usual in the Lopetegui´s system, he gave priority to directing the game towards the wings where he could connect with their two profound full-backs added to today´s starters, Suso, on the right and Ocampos on the left.
And this way, Sevilla scored the first one through an excellent cross by Suso from the right that Ocampos headed into the net. Suso was creating a lot of danger making diagonals from the right side to cross and shoot, and he also assisted En-Nesyri, but Espanyol´s keeper Diego López made a good save.
Sevilla dominated the game while Espanyol tried to counterattack through fast offensive transitions, but they couldn´t find the last pass. Moreover, Sevilla was unable to play from behind due to Espanyol´s high pressure and a mistake on the pass by central defender Diego Carlos provoked the most discussed play. Espanyol´s midfielder Marc Roca stole the ball and assisted Calleri, who was pushed by Sevilla´s defender Sergio Gómez. The referee did not blow the whistle even though it was a clear fault, and when he checked the VAR decided to give Sergio Gómez a yellow card and Espanyol a free kick, which Embarba made the most out of as he put the equalizer from a shot under the wall.
After halftime, Sevilla´s coach Lopetegui did not like what he was seeing and he substituted Vázquez by Nolito. But the substitution did not work and Espanyol scored their second five minutes later from the most basic play. Goalie Diego López launched the ball from his side of the pitch, Calleri headed it, and Wu Lei won the ball over Sevilla´s defense to make the fans be even more nervous.
Immediately, Lopetegui introduced Gudelj by Reguilón and switched to a three-man line defense, but that did not work either, as Sevilla could not get rid of the pressure from the crowd while Espanyol was taking advantage of the new scenario. Therefore, Lopetegui put forward de Jong in the field for Banega to return to a four line defense as he was desperate to come back.
And Nolito guided the way to turn it over as he made a great pass to leave En-Nesiry right in front of the opponent´s golie, but Espanyol´s midfielder Víctor López pushed him from behind and he was sent off for his second yellow card. Espanyol still had the last eternal twenty minutes and they couldn´t hold the win due to Sevilla´s persistence offensively.
Suso, who had an outstanding performance, made again a diagonal from the right to end with an accurate shot that went it to secure a point but, despite Sevilla´s constant tries to complete the come back, the game finished with a 2-2 draw that feels better for Espanyol.