Espanyol slipped to the bottom of the Primera Division after a controversial 2-1 defeat at Valencia which saw them end the game with nine men.
Jonathan Viera gave the home side the lead on 15 minutes but Samuele Longo equalised on the half-hour mark and the visitors looked like clinging on for a welcome point.
However, Hector Moreno was adjudged to have handled in the area three minutes from time and after Moreno and Sergio Garcia were sent off for protesting to the referee, Roberto Soldado drilled home the penalty.
Another 11 players were booked in an ill-tempered game which will have done little to boost Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino's chances of holding onto his job.
The Argentinian was on the verge of leaving Los Pericos after four years in charge following last weekend's 3-0 defeat at home to Osasuna, which came amid general uncertainty at the club with elections to appoint a new president.
Pochettino was convinced to stay on by chief executive Joan Collet but could now find the decision taken out of his hands.
Valencia had started brightly and Soldado fired over the bar early on before Viera broke the deadlock, firing home from 12 yards after an assist from Oliveira Jonas.
Espanyol tried to respond quickly but Joan Verdu's volley was comfortably dealt with by Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.
However, the visitors were level after 30 minutes when Verdu turned provider to set up Longo to steer the ball home from close range, and they ended the half in the ascendancy as Garcia drilled a 25-yard shot over the bar.
The second half was littered with more yellow cards than clear chances and it was looking set for a stalemate until the controversial finish.
Moreno was furious at being penalised for handball, but his pleas and those of team-mate Garcia only brought red cards from referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande before Soldado showed no mercy from the penalty spot.