Espanyol now level on points with fourth placed Valencia.
A brace from Jose Callejon has registered an efficient 2-1 victory for Espanyol away to Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Five points separated both sides prior to kick-off with the visitors hoping to draw level with fourth placed Valencia, who occupy the final Champions League spot. Sevilla themselves knew they could climb four places into the top six with a victory.
The Andalusians dominated the opening 40 minutes with some neatly crafted football. Luis Fabiano had the first real opportunity on 12 minutes and produced a stunning save from Espanyol’s Carlos Kameni who tipped over his headed effort via a Romaric cross from the left hand side. The Brazilian did brilliantly to adjust his body mid-flight to meet the deflected ball and steer it goalwards.
Sevilla continued to press and controlled the play in midfield. Romaric and Didier Zokora continue to illustrate their understanding in the center of midfield and looked to spread the ball out wide to Diego Perotti and Jesus Navas.
Spanish international Navas should have opened the scoring on 16 minutes. The wide-man failed to capitalize on a piece of lacklustre defending by Victor Ruiz in the penalty area as he smashed the ball on the half-volley into the turf and over the bar.
Incidentally, there was a lovely touch during the game as both sets of supporters joined in unison as they chanted the names of their late heroes Daniel Jarque and Antonio Puerta.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring five minutes before half-time and totally against the run of play thanks to a beautiful first time finish from Jose Callejon. The visitors prior to the goal had a real good spell of possession as they neatly passed the ball around their opponents before finding Javi Marquez out on the left whose teasing ball eluded the Sevilla defence and Callejon steered in to divert the ball past a rooted Javi Varas. It really was a top quality goal by Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Eight minutes into the second-half the goalscorer sliced the Sevilla defence in two as his pinpoint pass found the run of Javi Marquez down the right only to see his side footed effort denied by an onrushing Javi Varas in goal. Terrific awareness from Callejon to seek the pass.
Sevilla in truth controlled the midfield as they did in the first but lacked a killer instinct in the final third. Luis Fabiano found himself isolated up top with his partner Frederic Kanoute continuously dropping deep to collect the ball.
The Rojiblancos conjured up one of the moves of the match on the hour. Kanoute’s initiative found Navas driving down the right with a diligent ball over the top for the Spaniard whose cut back found Fabiano in the penalty area but he fired straight at Kameni after doing brilliantly to control the ball and get the shot away.
Minutes later Romaric went agonizingly close as his headed effort at the near post creeped just wide via a Jesus Navas corner and Kanoute saw a headed effort denied by Kameni down to his left on 74 minutes. The Espanyol stopper had produced a number of vital saves during the game.
Sevilla fell asleep at the back as Callejon bagged his brace on 78 minutes. Luis Garcia cleverly dinked the ball over the Andalusian backline via a free-kick that found an unmarked Callejon who controlled the ball superbly and coolly slotted the ball past Varas’s right.
Substitute Alvaro Negredo produced a beautiful goal in stoppage time with a left footed drive on the edge of the area as the Espanyol players appealed for handball. Nevertheless they held on for the win in what is a huge result for Pochettino’s men and now find themselves level on points with Valencia as they seek Champions League qualification.