One more final out of the 14 finals that the team has been determined to play since the defeat against Levante. And a final after having played another on Wednesday against Manchester City. With the Wanda Metropolitano packed to the rafters again, on Children's Day this time, with a spectacular atmosphere and a desire to celebrate another triumph. The team tried in every possible way in the first half against an Espanyol team who were locked in their own half and looking to counter-attack and surprise our team.
But the chances were reduced to two, the first for the Pericos, with a header from a corner kick by former Espanyol player Cabrera that Oblak had to turn behind for a corner in the seventh minute. And the second was a good Espanyol combination, with a deep pass from Kondogbia to João Félix, controlled by the Portuguese with his head to beat the defender, but his shot went over the crossbar. The final score was 0-0 at half-time, despite our team's attempts to create a goal-scoring chance.
There was an injury to be regretted just as the end of the first half was approaching. Lemar made a sprint and control and went down with a thud. He was one of the changes at half-time, with Carrasco coming on in his place. The other two were Cunha and Griezmann for Vrsaljko and João Félix. And the effect was immediate. A minute after the restart, a deep pass from Griezmann to Cunha ended with a shot from the Brazilian that Diego López cleared for a corner, although the play was disallowed for offside. It was a warning because the goal would come soon after.
In the 53rd minute, a deep pass from Cunha to Carrasco, who cut inside Aleix Vidal in the area and his shot hit Diego López before meekly going into the net. After a few minutes of red and white domination with chances that went just wide, either because of the Blue and Whites' defenders or because the shots went just wide. There was a decisive play in the development of the game in the second half. Figueroa Vázquez pointed out a foul for a handball by Kondogbia in the middle of the area. A second yellow for our '4' and a foul that Raúl de Tomás converted. We had to row against the tide and with a man down. And then came the chances for our team. First it was Griezmann with a shot that went over the crossbar. And then Llorente tried with a left-footed shot that went just wide of the post.
In the 94th minute, Carrasco tried after a phenomenal pass from De Paul and Diego López turned it behind for a corner. And from that corner kick Didac handled the ball inside the area and the referee, after consulting the monitor and being warned by the VAR, awarded a penalty. Carrasco took the spot-kick and converted it to make it 2-1 at the end of the game. This team, supported by a dedicated stadium, never stopped believing and achieved an agonising victory. Three golden points in the fight for the Champions League places. On Wednesday 20, another league match against Granada, also at the Wanda Metropolitano.