Espanyol are back in Europe 12 years after they were beaten in the UEFA Cup final by Sevilla in Glasgow. They will be in the Europa League next season after beating Real Sociedad 2-0 on Saturday, while Athletic Club lost 2-0 at Sevilla.
Diego López; Rosales, Naldo, Hermoso, Pedrosa; Marc Roca, Darder (Víctor Sánchez, 52'), Granero; Melendo (Puado, 88'), Borja Iglesias, Wu Lei (Sergio García, 80').
Rulli; Aritz, Llorente (Illarra, 64'), Moreno, Aihen; Zubeldia, Merino, Pardo (Januzaj, 64'); Barrenetxea (Juanmi, 73'), Willian José, Oyarzabal.
1-0 M. 57 Rosales. 2-0 M. 64 Wu Lei.
Jaime Latre (Comité aragonés). TA: Wu Lei (66') / Llorente (36').
RCDE Stadium. 26.568 espectadores.
The Pericos started the day in ninth place but knew a win against eighth placed Real Sociedad would give them a good chance of making Europe. A tight first half ended goalless but Espanyol kept their half of the bargain after the break with goals from Rosales and Wu Lei.
Beating La Real was enough to move eighth but only seventh was enough to secure Europe. All eyes, then, on Athletic at Sevilla. The Basques had to lose for Espanyol to move seventh and lose they did. Sevilla's win, though, wasn't enough to secure a Champions League spot. They join Espanyol in the Europa League, along with Getafe.
There was a pitch invasion at full time in Cornella to celebrate Espanyol's achievement. Rubi's done a brilliant job. Now he has to work on managing a European campaign along with a domestic one.