Vela deals Espanyol late blow
Last Updated: 19/04/14 9:51pm
Carlos Vela struck in stoppage-time to sink Espanyol 2-1 and give Real Sociedad their first win in four Primera Division matches.
The Mexican's late goal completed a comeback for the hosts, who fell behind to Jhon Cordoba's thumping effort after 23 minutes.
Sergio Canales equalised with a deflected goal and then the Basques turned up the heat on their opponents, getting their reward late on.
The victory means La Real take a step closer to ensuring their place in the Europa League for next season while Espanyol will remain in 10th place and on 41 points by the end of the weekend.
The Catalans could have taken the lead with 10 minutes gone, Victor Sanchez's powerful drive whizzing just past the post.
Then Mikel Gonzalez volleyed home for Sociedad but was correctly ruled offside.
The visitors took the lead midway through the first half via a wonderful goal by Cordoba, who had scored against La Real earlier in the season.
The Colombian flew past Gonzalez in the middle of the pitch and no-one could catch him, leaving him to bomb towards goal and drill the ball into the bottom corner.
The hosts woke up immediately after the goal and Imanol Agirretxe made an acrobatic attempt to connect with a looping pass from Sergio Canales but could not connect.
The veteran striker managed to hit the target with his next attempt, facilitated by a short pass by Vela, but was unable to beat Francisco Casilla at his near post.
The hosts' pressure paid off shortly after the half hour mark. Canales took a short corner, playing a one-two with Ruben Pardo and then striking towards goal from an angle. His shot took a deflection off the back of Manuel Lanzarote and Casilla was unable to prevent the ball from sneaking in at his near post.
The Basques then should have taken the lead when Vela got down the right and crossed to Canales at the back post who would have scored had Pardo not got in the path of the ball. The rebound fell to Agirretxe, whose shot was blocked by Casilla.
La Real dominated the second half and piled on the pressure in the final minutes with Casilla saving from Gonzalez and then Haris Seferovic a minute later.
However, Espanyol could have won the game in the final minute of normal time, Diego Colotto heading a free-kick straight at Claudio Bravo.
Then La Real went up the other end to grab the winner.
Vela controlled a pass then took the ball round defender Juan Fuentes before slotting home with what turned out to be the last kick of the game.