|First Division - Day 36|
Espanyol 2 - Valencia 2
Ibarra, Lopo, Pochettino (Velamazán 75'), David García; Alex
Fernández (Amavisca 59'), Jarque; Maxi, Corominas (Dani 78'), De la
Peña; Tamudo. 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Espanyol: Alex Fernández, Corominas for Fredson, Amavisca / Valencia: Ruz, David Navarro, Baraja, Rufete, Angulo for Caneira, Marchena, Sissoko, Aimar, Di Vaio.
An injury time strike from substitute Toni Velamazán kept Espanyol in the UEFA cup spots ahead of their opponents Valencia. Antonio López's side needed to win to overtake the Catalans in the table and have any chance of returning to the Champions League next season, but once again injuries to key players, in particular Mista and Aimar, and suspensions for Marchena and Sissoko, meant that he had to cobble together a side, with B team youngster Ruz getting his first start at right back.
Still the visitors took the lead, Rufete picking up a pass from Fabio Aurelio on a quick breakaway to poke a shot wide of Kameni. But with the game just over half an hour old Maxi fell in the area under a challenge from Palop, and although it didn't look as if the keeper had touched the player, referee Teixeira Vitienes sent Palop off and awarded a penalty, which Tamudo converted past his replacement Cañizares.
Valencia got back in front though midway through the second half, Kameni saving at the feet of Angulo but the ball rebounding off the unfortunate David García and in to the net. Lotina threw on Velamazán and Dani to try and get back in the game, but the visiting defence held fast until well into injury time.
However with the game coming to an end a corner was cleared only as far as Velamazán, who fired a first time volley past Cañizares from the edge of the area. Espanyol had got the point they needed, and they hold on to sixth spot, just two points away from the Champions League places. Valencia stay down in seventh, and their best hope of a place in Europe (Intertoto Cup excepted) now lies with Betis, who would free up one of the UEFA cup spots if they win the cup and finish fifth or sixth in the league. It's a lot to ask for though.