Two goals in two shots on goal gave three crucial points to an Espanyol that survived against a direct rival like Real Oviedo, who proposed more and better, but left the referee angry and empty of the Stage Front Stadium. After five draws in a row and many debates about the team’s ills, the parakeets were reunited with victory at the most critical moment, when the playoff was even beginning to be in danger after letting the direct promotion train slip away, almost definitively. On the other hand, thanks to the goals from Braithwaite, from a penalty, and Cabrera, the blue and white practically certified the ticket for the playoffs to go up to First Division.

Manolo González’s team was facing its umpteenth final marked by the absences of the injured Jofre Carreras, Pol Lozano and Gragera, and that of the suspended Melamed. Some absences that weighed on the parakeets from the opening whistle. As if there weren’t enough nerves in the stands during the preview, the respectable man got a tremendous scare in the first minute. Masca scored with a header, but the Portuguese was offside when the incombustible Santi Cazorla took the free kick. The annulled goal was only an appetizer of the initial rush of the Oviedo team, the only ones on the pitch who seemed to show a desire to return to the First Division 25 years later. Luis Carrión’s men, with the magician Cazorla at the helm, gave a lesson in good football in the early stages to a powerless Espanyol, unable to prevail in their stadium.

The visitors were searching for the first goal. Dani Calvo had it, who headed wide, and then Colombatto, with a shot from no angle, caused the parish whistles. Only the applause for eternal captain Dani Jarque, in the 21st minute, prevented another fight from the public after another unopposed header, again from Masca, which Joan García sent for a corner. But the save was in vain: Cazorla, from the corner, put the ball at the near post and Luengo scored after going over El Hilali.

It was then that Oviedo’s dominance gave way to controversy. Espanyol, who had not even tested the rival goalkeeper, found themselves with a penalty in their favor. Colombatto stepped on Keidi Bare’s boot in a split ball and referee Lax Franco, after using the VAR, pointed to the eleven meters, from where Braithwaite made no mistake. The parakeets took advantage of the inertia to seek the second goal, in a shot by Aguado blocked by the defense, but the gaseous effect faded with controversy once again taking center stage. Dani Calvo, after the umpteenth header, celebrated the second goal. Euphoria among the Asturians until the VAR declared a diffuse positional offside by Alemão, who was fighting with Brian Oliván on the goal line.

After the restart, Oviedo followed suit, with good circulation as an argument. However, Espanyol, with its second shot on goal, went ahead with a goal from Cabrera. The center back headed a corner that first touched Alemão and then beat the goalkeeper. An excessive loot for the merits of both sets. Oviedo, now with nothing to lose, went ahead, and Braithwaite, with space, almost took advantage with a shot that went wide. The Asturians were very close to the tie in a point-blank shot by Colombatto that Joan García took with his face. It was the last of the visitors against an Espanyol sheltered behind that emerged unscathed from the harassment. Perica’s next stop will be at home against an Amorebieta team that is in the midst of a fight to avoid relegation.

Spanish: Joan Garcia; Omar El Hilali, Sergi Gómez, Cabrera, Brian Oliván (Rubén Sánchez, min.56); Pere Milla (Víctor Ruiz, min.81), Keidi Bare, Aguado (Óscar Gil, min.81), Roca (Bauza, min.64); Handful (Gastón, min.81) and Braithwaite.

Oviedo: Leo Román; Viti, Luengo, Dani Calvo, Pomares (Bretons, min.77); Seoane, Colombatto (Borja, min.77); Masca (Paulino, min.65), Cazorla, Borja Sánchez (Dubasin, min.65) and Alemao (Millán, min.86).

Goals: 0-1, min.23: Luengo; 1-1, min.32: Braithwaite; 2-1, min.63: Cabrera.

Referee: Lax Franco (Murcian committee). He cautioned Colombatto (min.31), Roca (min.35) and Brian Oliván (min.50).

Incidents: match corresponding to the fortieth round of LaLiga Hypermotion played at the Stage Front Stadium in front of 23,330 spectators.