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Espanyol 1-1 Villarreal: Granero rescues a late point for struggling hosts

Espanyol’s nightmare start to 2018 continues, despite Esteban Granero’s late goal rescuing a valuable point against Villarreal on Sunday.

The hosts struggled to create anything and had to stand up to Villarreal’s attacking prowess time and time again.

Enes Unal was close to getting his side off to the dream start inside 10 minutes, but his effort was ruled out for a shoulder barge only minutes after Pablo Fornals hit the post.

Unal was involved again as his blocked shot deflected into the path of Rodri to open the scoring on 25 minutes with a powerful drive which left Diego Lopez with no chance for his first La Liga goal.

However, for all their dominance the Yellow Submarine only had a one-goal lead. Espanyol’s much improved second half performance upped the pressure on Javi Callejo and co and they got their equaliser in the 85th minute when ex-Real Madrid man Esteban Granero whipped his free-kick up and over the wall and into the back of the net beyond Sergi Asenjo.

The result keeps Espanyol safe of a relegation fight with a seven point advantage over 17th-placed Levante and a seemingly comfortable nine-point head start on Las Palmas in 18th.

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For Villarreal though, the result could be more damaging as it means they drop to sixth after Sevilla returned from the Canary Islands with all three points on Saturday afternoon.

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