Madrid, Aug 14 : Espanyol play the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie against Swiss side Luzern on Thursday night, and should expect an easy victory after a 3-0 away win in the first leg, but the Barcelona-based outfit will be without striker Borja Iglesias, who is set to join Real Betis.
The 26-year-old striker, who last season netted 17 goals and formed an impressive partnership with China's Wu Lei, travelled to Seville on Wednesday morning, where he will link up with former Espanyol coach Joan Francesc 'Rubi' at Betis.
Although Espanyol will earn 28 million euros (31 million U.S. dollars) from the sale, Iglesias' departure is a major blow to the club's hopes of repeating last season's seventh place finish in La Liga, despite the arrival of Argentinian winger Matias Vargas from Velez Sarsfield over the summer. The press have linked Espanyol with Italian striker Simone Zaza, who is currently with Torino, but previously spent two years in Spain with Valencia.
Espanyol will also be without central defender David Lopez and winger Pablo Piatti for Thursday's night's game, though Wu Lei could well be back in the starting 11 as new coach David Gallego looks to rotate his squad ahead of the new La Liga season. Espanyol start their domestic campaign with a home game against Sevilla on Sunday, and although Gallego knows the importance of reaching the group stage of the Europa League, his side's comfortable first-leg cushion should allow him to rest some first-teamers and allow fringe players the chance to impress. (UNI-XINHUA)