Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Espanyol beat Bilbao 3-2 thanks to Sanchez double

HOSTILE TERRITORY:The loss extended Athletic’s 15-year long win drought at the home of ‘los Periquitos,’ who sit one place above them at No. 5 in the league

AP, BARCELONA, Spain

RCD Espanyol striker Sergio Garcia, second left, celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao in their La Liga match in Cornella de Llobregat, Spain, on Monday.

PHOTO: EPA

Two goals by Victor Sanchez and one by Sergio Garcia gave RCD Espanyol a thrilling 3-2 home win against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Monday.

Espanyol midfielder Sanchez intercepted Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz’s clearance and, having spotted a gap, risked using his less-favored left foot to fire a beautifully precise long-range shot that bounced in from high up the near post in the 24th minute.

“I don’t think I’ve ever scored a goal like that,” Sanchez said. “We were lucky enough to be able to score first and finish the match with a win. We are a united team and that’s the image that should be taken away from this match.”

Bilbao intercepted Espanyol’s attack, quickly passed the ball to Benat Etxebarria, who found Mikel Rico racing up the right flank, crossing precisely for Oscar de Marcos to score from the middle of the box in the 43rd.

Sanchez added a second goal in the 49th minute after a complex sequence of one-touch passes placed the ball precisely onto his right foot.

As Espanyol surged forward, Iraizoz saved three attempts on goal in rapid succession, only to have the fourth bounce off him into the net after Garcia’s close-range shot in the 66th.

Bilbao have not won a game at the Estadio Cornella El-Prat in 15 years.

“We found it hard to get into the match, Espanyol tends to pressure you well, especially at the beginning of matches,” Bilbao forward Iker Muniain said. “We were on the brink of equalizing at the end, but we’ve got another match Thursday so it’s time to think about that.”

Atletico Madrid share the league lead with Barcelona on a perfect 15 points after five matches. Espanyol are fifth on 11 and Bilbao sixth on nine.

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