Late Pandiani strike sinks Getafe
Walter Pandiani scored his first goal since returning to Espanyol deep into stoppage time to give his side a deserved 1-0 victory over Getafe.
Both sides struggled to create anything of note before half-time, but after the break the hosts were denied on several occasions by Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.
The visitors should have taken the lead with ten minutes remaining, but Juan Valera blasted over from six yards with the goal at his mercy and Getafe were made to pay in the second minute of injury time. Moya made the initial save after Sergio Garcia had met Rui Fonte's cros,s but the rebound fell kindly for Pandiani to fire into the top corner.
Getafe had gone down meekly to Rayo Vallecano in their last outing and manager Luis Garcia selected a very cautious side with Miku acting as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.
The extra man in midfield allowed the visitors to dominate possession in the first period, but due to the lack of numbers in advanced positions they were unable to turn that into clear-cut chances, Francisco Casquero volleying over the best chance of the first 45 minutes when well placed just inside the box.
Espanyol had showed almost nothing in the final third during a dull first half, but were reinvigorated after the break and almost went ahead within two minutes of the restart as Thievy Bifouma cut inside Valera but was denied by the feet of Moya.
Javi Martinez and Sergio Garcia saw efforts fly just wide as the hosts built up momentum and they were nearly ahead via a wonder goal as Moya got back just in time to tip over Joan Verdu's audacious volley from the halfway line.
From the resulting corner Espanyol went close again, however, Alberto Lopo cleared Vladimir Weiss' effort off the line.
Getafe's two best chances of the match came within 30 seconds of one another as Miku's effort was blocked inside the six-yard box by Hector Moreno and, as the ball was played back into the area, Valera was left all alone at the back post but failed to control his finish and the ball sailed over the bar.
Fonte was introduced with only three minutes remaining, but his contribution was telling as from his excellent cross Sergio Garcia was again denied by Moya. Th ball fell to Pandiani, though, who took his time before shooting powerfully beyond Moya into the keeper's top-left corner.