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Espanyol strike late for first away win

Espanyol have struck twice, late in the game, to snatch a 2-1 win at Mestalla against Valencia.

Raul de Tomas and Javi Puado scored inside the last ten minutes to earn their first away victory of the Spanish league season on Friday.

The match that closed out 2021 will be the last one to be played with 100% occupancy for at least a month in Spain. Health authorities have reinstated caps of 75% seating for games during January given the sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Spanish stadiums had gone back to full capacity at the start of October.

Valencia appeared to be on the way to winning when Omar Alderete headed the hosts in front in the 51st minute.

But Espanyol substitute Jofre Carreras changed the match.

Carreras was fouled in the penalty area by Hugo Duro in the 82nd minute leading to Duro’s dismissal for a second yellow card and a penalty De Tomas converted.

Carreras then cued Puado up to head in the 88th-minute winner with a pinpoint cross from the right flank.

Valencia’s Ruben Iranzo almost grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time when his header hit the crossbar.

“It has been tough for us to get this first away win of the season, but finally it is here,” said Puado, whose team had previously drawn three and lost six on the road in the league.

Valencia remained eighth place, Espanyol jumped to ninth, two points behind.

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