Chinese striker Wu Lei scored in his first game after returning to Espanyol in La Liga. With the critical goal contributed by the 28-year-old star from China, Espanyol defeated Alavés with a final score of 2-0. Espanyol is currently ranked last in Spanish La Liga tournament. The 2-0 victory was a much-needed win to increase the chance of avoiding relegation.
Espanyol has been in the top-level league in 85 of the past 89 seasons. The struggling Catalan team’s quest to avoid relegation remains to be challenging as it will need to play against both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in the coming weeks. Espanyol now has 23 points from 28 games, still three points behind the safety zone.
Wu Lei forced Alavés’ goalkeeper Fernandes Pacheco into a game-ending mistake in the 19th minute. Facing pressure from Wu Lei, Pacheco used his hands to grab the pass outside the penalty box, which led to a red card from the referee. Alavés was forced to enter the remaining games with only 10 players on the field. Wu Lei had a goal being called off by the referee in the 26th minute as the ball hit Wu’s right hand before ultimately falling to the back of the net.
The Chinese striker received an excellent pass to beat the offside trap from Alavés and scored on the one-on-one play in the early second half. This marks the 8th goal for Wu Lei in Espanyol this season and the 4th goal from Wu in the 2019-2020 La Liga season. Wu is now the top scorer in the current Espanyol squad, who scored 4 out of the 25 total goals this season. Playing important roles in the team’s offensive ends, Wu Lei was recognized as one of the best players on the Espanyol squad tonight.
Wu Lei joined Espanyol from the Chinese Super League team Shanghai SIPG in January 2019. He is currently the only Chinese national team player who plays in top-level football tournaments in Europe. Recognized as the best player in the country, Wu was rumored to have the opportunity to move to the English Premier League team Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. in the coming season. Previous reports suggested that the Chinese striker is more inclined to stay with Espanyol even if the team ends up relegating to the 2nd-tier tournament. There are also media reports suggesting that Turkish football club Beşiktaş J.K. has some interest in bringing the 28-year-old to its squad.
It is a remarkable performance from the Chinese striker who tested positive for coronavirus earlier in March. Wu Lei is one of six Espanyol players who were infected by virus, only experiencing mild symptoms. Despite the Espanyol striker getting cleared to return to practice in May, many were concerned about Wu’s physical readiness. Wu’s strong performance certainly boosted the team’s confidence in its struggles to remain in the top Spanish football league.
With 10 games remaining, Espanyol will be playing against Getafe, Levante, and Real Betis in the following three games. The team is scheduled to face Real Madrid on June 28th and F.C. Barcelona on July 8th.