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Espanyol opens new ground with 3-0 defeat of Liverpool
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Spanish Primera Liga side Espanyol inaugurated its new stadium with a 3-0 win in a friendly game against English Premier League side Liverpool, this Sunday.

The opening of the 39,000 Cornella-El Prat Stadium means the Barcelona based club can finally say goodbye to the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic, that it has used as a home since leaving the old Sarria Stadium at the end of the 1996-97 campaign.

Espanyol never felt comfortable at Montjuic, where the 55,000 capacity and the presence of an athletics track between the playing surface and the stands meant there were always empty seats and a lack of atmosphere whenever the side played at home.

Work began on Cornella-El Prat three and a half years ago on a site to the south of Barcelona, not far away from the city's airport.

The new stadium has the advantage of being purpose built for football and at the club, they believe it will be the start of a new era, especially after the club's recovery last season to avoid relegation from the Primera Liga after looking doomed to descend at the midway point of the campaign.

With a Spanish coach in Rafael Benitez and several Spanish players such as Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and former Espanyol midfielder Albert Riera in its ranks Liverpool was the perfect rival for the occasion.

However, the English side was no match for an Espanyol team that was clearly fired up for the big day.

Luis Garcia opened the scoring for the Spanish side after 20 minutes and two second half goals from new signing Ben Sahar gave them a 3-0 win and although Steven Gerrard hit the woodwork twice for Liverpool, he was never going to spoil Espanyol's big day.

(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2009)

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