Wu Lei Misses Chance to Score, Espanyol Faces Tougher Challenges to Remain in La Liga
Following its 1-3 loss against Levante last Saturday, Espanyol lost another game against Real Betis in its already difficult journey to remain in the top-level Spanish Football League La Liga. With 7 games left in the 2019-2020 season, Espanyol is 8 points away from the safety zone, after 17th place team Eibar defeated Valencia with a one-goal victory.
This is the second consecutive loss for Espanyol despite their desire to remain in La Liga. Espanyol had one win, one draw, and two losses in the four games after the La Liga tournament resumed after COVID-19 pandemic suspensions.
Espanyol was promoted to the top division in Spain back in 1994 and remained in La Liga for the past 26 years. Yet the team’s future does not look so promising under the current circumstances. The already struggling Espanyol will play Real Madrid in their upcoming game on Sunday.
Real Madrid is a tough competitor for F.C Barcelona as they both chase the La Liga Championship title. But two key players from the team, Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy, are going to miss the game against Espanyol due to suspensions. Both players got their fifth bookings in a 2-0 victory against Real Mallorca, which resulted in an automatic one-game suspension. Yet for Espanyol, the game against one of the best teams in the tournament will not be easy even with the absence of two key Real Madrid players.
Wu Lei became the most questionable Espanyol player following the loss against Real Betis. Espanyol conceded a goal shortly after the beginning of the second half. Chinese striker Wu Lei was substituted into the match at the 59th minute. The 28-year-old forward had an excellent chance to equalize the game for Espanyol but missed an easy scoring opportunity for his struggling team. Facing very little challenges, Wu Lei shot the ball at the goalkeeper and ultimately squandered his best chance to save his team from another loss. The Chinese striker faced criticism after the match, and the goal was believed to be a chance that was “impossible to miss.”
SEE ALSO: Wu Lei’s Decisive Goal Helps Espanyol Secure a Much-Needed Victory
The star player from China was acquired by Espanyol in January 2019 from the Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG F.C. Wu scored a total of four goals for Espanyol in the 2019-2020 La Liga season. The team scored a total of 26 goals in all La Liga matches thus far.
While showing his intention to stay with Espanyol regardless of which league the team will be playing in the upcoming season, Wu Lei may change his mind if Espanyol ends up not staying in Spain’s top-level league in 2020. The Chinese striker was rumored to have the opportunity to transfer to various football clubs across Europe. The most notable interest came from the English Premier League team Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. An opportunity to play in the English Premier League could be a decisive factor for the future of this 28-year-old Chinese striker when the 2019-2020 La Liga season finishes next month.
With 8 points away from the safety zone, and 7 games remaining to play, including two games against Real Madrid and F.C Barcelona respectively, Espanyol is not receiving optimistic forecasts when it comes to the team’s odds to stay in the top-level Spanish football league.
Despite facing significant challenges, Espanyol head coach Abelardo Fernandez insists that his team will not easily give up.
“We know that survival is really difficult, we are in a really bad place,” Abelardo said in the post-match press conference to Spanish Radio Station Cadena Cope.
“We have no choice but to continue fighting, it is the DNA of the club.”