There were plenty of excitement in a fiery encounter tonight ...
Unai Emery's men started the game brightly and almost took the lead through Pablo Hernandez in the fifth minute, but the winger sent in a weak effort after being released down the left by Jeremy Mathieu on the break.
Valencia continued to dominate the game with Aduriz nearly getting the opener in the 13th minute when he saw a powerful drive saved by Carlos Idriss Kameni. Espanyol received some disturbing news moments later as the club's top goalscorer Pablo Osvaldo was forced to leave the pitch for Alvaro Garcia after picking up an injury.
Vicente Guaita was called into action in the 27th minute when Javi Marquez tried his luck from the edge of the box, but the goalkeeper managed to stop the shot. In the following attack Los Che received a corner instead of a penalty after Aduriz was brought down by Kameni in the box, but it did not matter, however, as the ex-Mallorca striker managed to open the scoring with a delightful header, following Joaquin's delivery from the right corner.
Espanyol tried to get back quickly in the match, but were struggling to create a clear-cut chance. A goal, however, came from an unlikely source as mere moments before the half-time whistle Costa headed a Jose Maria Callejon cross from the right into his own net.
Los Periquitos improved their game after the break and started pressuring their opponents all over the pitch. In the 57th minute substitute Garcia wasted Espanyol's best chance of the game by that point as he flashed a header from point-blank range over the bar.
Three minutes later Mauricio Pochettino's men received a boost as Aduriz was sent off straight away in rather controversial circumstances after allegedly hitting Chica, despite minimal contact being made.
The numerical disadvantage soon began to take it's toll despite Mata seeing a marvellous volley from six yards out saved by Kameni in the 65th minute. Callejon and substitute Jesus Datolo both went close for Espanyol in the remaining minutes and Luis Garcia forced Guaita into a fine save in the 82nd minute with a free-kick.
One minute later Hernandez missed a sitter from four yards out after being fed by Mata as the game was drawing to a close. Costa turned from flop to top in the last minute of injury time when he headed a ball to Mata in the six-yard box, and the ex-Real Madrid youngster made no mistake and scored a dramatic, but controversial winner as he was a yard or so offside.
Following tonight's result Valencia are fourth in the standings with 31 points while Espanyol are fifth with 28th. Los Che's next league game is a visit to Levante on the 9th January, while Los Periquitos host Real Zaragoza on the same day.