Espanyol 3-1 Granada: Full time
FT: The early second half goal by debutant Marc Navarro ended the game as a contest because Granada never really looked like scoring one, nevermind two. Espanyol will be happy with their performance aside from a brief dip in the middle of the first half. They dominated the ball, controlled how this game was going to be played, and most importantly, scored three goals to Granada's one. If Leganes win their game later on against Alaves, they could find themselves ten points from safety with Valencia six points ahead of them and with two games in hand. Espanyol rise to 10th in the table.
Min 90+1 | Pereira booked for a frustrted foul. Espanyol happy with that as they eat up another minute preparing for the free.
Min 89 | Some confusion at the back for Espanyol sees Reyes steel in and get a foot on the ball. It ends up in Lopez' hands and was a free out in any case.
Min 87 | Decent cross by Foulquier, but it will take more than a decent cross to beat this Espanyol defence. They run a tight ship back there.
Min 85 | Granada picking it up slightly now as they seem to realise they are running out of time but that Andreas Pereira won't get them any closer to gaining a point here. He drills over from distance.
Min 84 | Searching ball for Malle does not make it to him as he is outmuscled by two Espanyol defenders.
Min 81 | A real stalemate here as Espanyol not overly keen on getting another one and Granada can't even get an effort on target.
Espanyol substitution - Jose Antonio Reyes brought off to a standing ovation and rousing round of applause for Salva Sevilla.
Min 80 | High ball in on top of Ochoa is caught by the goalkeeper.
Min 77 | After a lengthy delay for an injury to Aly Malle and some substitutions, Granada get the game back underway. It is swung in but can't find a Granada player. Goal kick.
Granada substitution - Granada's last change as Alberto Bueno comes on for Rene Krhin.
Espanyol substitution - Marc Roca comes on for Hernand Perez.
Min 69 | Granada realling struggling now to create anything and to hold Espanyol at bay.
Min 65 | Espanyol are looking like they might score another here. They are looking more dangerous and Granada's defence is looking more tired every attack.
Min 63 | Espanyol could have had two penalties there after tow borderline fouls in the penalty area. Referee eventually gives a free out for offside.
Min 61 | Jurado with a free out on the left. He curls it in with his right and Ochoa is forced to tip it over for fear of it dropping in.
Min 58 | Pereira tries one with his right that takes a slight deflection off David Lopez. diego Lopez, in goals, adjusts and makes a save. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
Min 56 | The corner lands to Lopez and he forces a cracking save from the Mexican.
Min 55 | Reyes tries to bend a cross into the box but it's blocked and goes out for a corner.
Min 53 | Ochoa collects as Espanyol push for a fourth. Moreno with the volley at a difficult angle.
GOAL! Gerard Moreno bends one around Ochoa and out of his reach. The game is surely out of Granada's reach now too. Great finish off the left foot of Moreno.
Min 46 | Two changes for Granada as Tabanou comes off for Gabriel Silva and Boga is replaces by Ezequiel Ponce.
Espanyol 2-1 Granada: First half
HT - A quick start by the hosts turns into a 1-0 lead before Granada woke up and drew level through Andreas Pereira. It was not tied for long as Pablo Piatti struck to put Espanyol back in charge of the game. The game really opened up in the middle of that half but Granada will need more quality if they want a point, or more, from this game
Min 44 | Game has reached its nadir now as both teams looking towards half-time to reassess their situations.
Min 41 | Ochoa under pressure from Reyes gets his kick-out blocked, but it goes out harmlessly for a throw to Granada.
Min 36 | Hernan Perez tries to run through everyone but he runs out of real estate and Ochoa gathers. He's nothing if he's not ambitious.
GOAL! Granada with a lovely move and Piatti manages to control turn and fire into the bottom corner in one fell swoop. Lovely finish but questions will be asked of Granada's defending.
Min 28 | Espanyol corner comes to nothing. Gerard Moreno with an awkward-looking shot that goes well wide of Ochoa's goal.
Min 24 | Whisper it quietly but Granada are now dominating this game. Espanyol have withered as the game has progressed despite a bright start. Aly Malle causing problems for the home side.
GOAL! I was just about to say it was too close to the goal to get it up and down. Pereira avoids that particulat conunundrum by sliding it under the wall and into Lopez' bottom left. A very smart free-kick, well executed.
Min 20 | A foul in a dangerous postition by Diego Reyes on Aly Malle. He left a sneaky leg in and clipped the Granada player.
Min 17 | Ingason booked for a hand ball as Hernan Perez tries to skip past him. He stopped man and ball wth that tackle.
15 minute update - Espanyol mean business today. Either that, or Granada don't. It is very possible that the latter is true as Espanyol have started this game with a series of long-winded attacking moves and passes under very little pressure. Granada do not strike as a team fighting for their life and will need to fix that if they want to get back into this game.
Min 14 | Back to as you were as Espanyol allowed too much time on the ball and are winning it back even when their passes do go astray.
Min 13 | Espanyol are building again. Granada can't keep the ball for longer than three seconds it seems. Lucas Alvarez is up on his feet and scratching his chin in an after to think of a remedy. They need one.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! A mistake from what should have been a routine clearence sees the ball land at Jose Antonio Reyes' feet and he curls beyond Ochoa to five Espanyol the lead.
Min 9 | Piatti involved in a move down the left and Espanyol win a corner from it. Foul by David Lopez gifts Granada a free out.
Min 7 | Just the 77% possession for Espanyol so far.
Min 5 | Pereira fouls Jurado in the middle of the field and Espanyol build again. No chances yet but Espanyol are comfortable. Granada getting slightly jumpy and another foul by Samper is borne from frustration.
Min 4 | Espanyol proving to be stingy hosts to start this game. They won't give their visitors a look of the ball early on.
Min 3 | Foulquier puts the ball out for an Espanyol corner early.
Min 1 | PEEP! We are underway up north.
Espanyol - Granada: Live build-up
12:59 | Both sides are owned by Chinese companies with Granada taken over last year by Desports, a Chinese marketing agency. Espanyol are owned by Rastar Managerial Group. Plenty of bragging rights up for grabs today.
12:55 | Granada in their illumious orange away strip and Espanyol sporting their blue and white stripes. No colour clash for this one as the two strips lie on different ends of the colour spectrum!
12:52 | Quique Sanchez Flores could also do with a win. It has been three games since his side claimed all three points in a game. They lost to Barcelona, drew with Depor and lost to Valencia last weekend.
12:48 | Granada really are facing into desperation time at this early stage of the season. They need a win to prevent themselves from being cut off from the rest of LaLiga. They are currently six points away from safety.
12:35 | Hello and a very warm welcome to our live, minute-by-minute coverage of today's early kick-off in LaLiga. Quique Sánchez Flores' side, currently sitting 11th, will be looking to move on up the table, while Granada look to claw their way out of the relegation zone.
Espanyol - Granada: Starting line-ups
Espanyol XI: López, Víctor S., Reyes, D. Lopez, Aaron, Javi Fuego, Jurado, Piatti, Hernán Pérez, Reyes, Gerard.
Granada XI: Ochoa, Ingason, Lombán, Foulquier, Tabanou, Samper, Krhin, Andreas, Boga, Ally Malé, Kravets.
Espanyol – Granada: Match preview
Espanyol welcome Granada to the RCDE Stadium this afternoon and both sides have more in common than the Chinese ownership structures that oversee both LaLiga clubs.
Espanyol have hit the wall. Since suffering a 4-1 reverse at the hands of city neighbors at Camp Nou in mid-December, subsequent games have seen Quique Sanchez Flores’ side eliminated from the Copa del Rey at the hand of AD Alcorcon and struggle in LaLiga with a 1-1 home draw to poor travelers Deportivo and a 2-1 defeat to relegation threatened Valencia to open their 2017 account.
Granada have improved under Luis Alcaraz and so much so that despite languishing at the wrong end of the table, the Andalusian club have renewed his contract and the 50 year old will be at Los Carmenes through to the end of 2018. Better performances on the pitch have not directly translated into improved results with a mid-December home win against Sevilla failing to materialize into the springboard that many had hoped for as Granada travel to Barcelona in the penultimate placing in the league table with the worst goal difference ( -24) in the Spanish top flight.
Chinese ownership and a Chinese television viewing friendly kick off time of 1300 CET to celebrate one year at the helm of Espanyol for Chen Yansheng. His counterpart at Granada Jiang Lizhang has been at Granada for less time but has been equally as optimistic in regards to his long terms plans for the football club.
After the big summer signings and anticipation that surrounded the Barcelona based club, fans of the “Budgies” currently find themselves looking over their shoulders rather than having eyes set on a Europa League place that early season form hinted at.
Mid table mediocrity is the fear that haunts fans at the RCDE Stadium and as the first round of games comes to a conclusion with the visit of struggling Granada, Quique Sanchez Flores will hope that the return of Argentine Pablo Piatti to the side will provide an injection of quality recently lacking as the side hope their poor start to 2017 will turn the corner with a win over Granada.
In his pre-match press conference, Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores confirmed that the game against Granada would be key in marking the immediate future of the team claiming: “We want more. Our idea is to grow. The first round is finishing and this match is going to tell us where we are going to be. We have to fight back against situations we don’t like. All matches are difficult and all rivals can put you in trouble. Granada is a very tough team, that has a lot of alternative options and that has put in trouble big teams in the league. No match has been easy for us”.
“Our feelings are that we are growing. We wanted to control some things and we do now. We have to have clear in what things we have grown and what can be bettered. We are far from being a solid project”, he said.
Granada have busy in the winter transfer market with this week alone seeing the arrival of three reinforcements. Pangiotas Kone, Ingason and Colombian Adrian Ramos will hope to play a role in saving the Andalusian outfit with the Greek and Icelandic player making the squad for the trip to Cornella.
Recent games between both sides have been tightly disputed affairs with one having to go back to April 2013 for the last Granada win at the Espanyol ground. Alcaraz will look to Ukrainian international Artem Kravets to lead the line at the RCDE Stadium as the top scorer this season for the ‘Nazaries’. The striker has bagged five goals during the current campaign in LaLiga, three strikes have come from matches played away from home (against Deportivo Alavés, Celta Vigo and Málaga CF).
In his pre-match analysis, Granada coach Alcaraz said of Espanyol: "They're a solid team that manages time in games well, along with transitions between defence and attack. As for ourselves, regardless of the particular circumstances of this game, we must translate everything we have been working on in training, towards this game."
"The challenge for our team is taking the work we do in training every day, and to demonstrate it in matches. If anyone watches our team, they will see we have a team that can compete. There's a distance in points in LaLiga we need to reduce as quickly as possible. If we can do that, we will improve our results.