Espanyol moved out of the Primera Division drop zone following a hard-earned 2-0 victory over rock-bottom Deportivo La Coruna.
Former Portugal international Simao Sabrosa headed home just after the half hour in a match where the losers would have the unwanted position of going into the two-week winter break at the foot of the table.
In the closing stages, substitute Christian Stuani sealed the three points which moved Javier Aguirre's men into 16th place although they could find themselves back in the bottom three by Saturday.
Both teams came into tonight on the back of seven-match winless runs in the league and cup and were locked together on 12 points.
Yet the hosts had shown some signs of recovery in recent weeks, drawing their last three matches under new coach Javier Aguirre, including an encouraging 2-2 draw at Real Madrid last time out.
They started in confident fashion at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat, with Sergio Garcia and Wakaso Mubarak narrowly missing the target in the opening 10 minutes.
They were nearly caught on the hop, with Deportivo striker Riki's header forcing Francisco Casilla into action.
Luis Pizzi's 25-yard strike was beaten away by Casilla and it proved to be a vital save when Simao scored his second goal of the season by heading past helpless Deportivo shot-stopper German Lux in the 31st minute.
Garcia continued to make a nuisance of himself amongst the visitors' defence and saw one shot miss the target before Lux did brilliantly to palm another round the post.
Depor were in no mood to lie down, however, and Abel Aguilar somehow missed the target from close range, while Riki headed Luis Pizzi's free-kick over the bar.
The action died down after the interval, with the first effort on goal coming after the hour, Espanyol substitute Raul Baena blazing over from just outside the area.
The visitors were not doing enough in the final third to warrant an equaliser, with Aguilar and on-loan forward Nelson Oliveira striking over from distance.
However, the latter did have Casilla scrambling to tip round the post, but any hopes of a comeback were killed off two minutes from time.
Stuani collected the ball from Baena before drilling low into the net to seal a satisfactory win for Espanyol.