First Division - Day 38

Espanyol 2 - Real Murcia 0

Espanyol: Lemmens; Torricelli (Toni Velamazán 65'), Lopo, Pochettino, Wome; Fredson, Morales; Maxi (Raducanu 57'), De la Peña, Hadji (Domoraud 74'); Tamudo. 4-2-3-1.
Real Murcia: Sánchez Broto; Juanma (Diego Quintana 78'), Cuadrado, Hurtado, Azkarate; Maciel (Tato 78'), Jensen; Gancedo, Luis García, Richi (Valera 46'); David Karanka 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Espanyol: Torricelli, Morales for Domoraud, Alex Fernández / Murcia: Azkarate, Maciel for Carreras, Acciari.

1-0. 71. Tamudo. Picked up De la Peña pass on right and scored from wide angle.
2-0. 80. Lopo. Got above defence to head De la Peña corner past Sánchez Broto.

Espanyol saved themselves from the drop thanks to a 2-0 win over Real Murcia on the last day of the season. Three sides were fighting it out to avoid the two remaining relegation spots, with Espanyol starting off favourites as they were ahead of Celta and Valladolid in the league at the start of the day and were playing a team already relegated. But although they were urged on by almost 52,000 fans, the Catalans couldn't find the route to goal in the first half, Tamudo coming up against Sánchez Broto twice and shooting just wide on another occasion, and Wome going close just before the break.

By then though the news had come through that Valladolid were ahead, which meant that Espanyol were provisionally back in the bottom three. Murcia had not caused them too many problems up to then, their only chance being an effort from Jensen which Lemmens had kept out. But there were rumours that John Toshack's side were on a big win bonus from relegation rivals Celta, and they gave the home fans a couple of frights after the restart, David Karanka failing to finish off when through on goal and Luis García hitting the bar with a shot from outside of the area.

Almost immediately after being let off the hook, substitute Raducanu hit the post at the other end. And two minutes later Tamudo picked up De la Peña's through ball to shoot through the legs of Sánchez Broto to send the fans wild. When Lopo got on the end of De la Peña's corner to head a second goal it was all over, and the sending off of Raducanu for a second bookable offence a few minutes later was never going to change the result. Luis Fernández had pulled off one of the most impressive escape acts of footballing history and the "Periquitos" will be perched on the top rung next season with all the other big birds. Who would have put money on that at the Christmas break when they had only won two of their first 17 games?