Valencia return to winning ways in comeback victory against Celta Vigo

Match Report
Valencia (2)Celta Vigo (1)
Hugo Duro 19′
Maxi Gomez 53′
Iago Aspas 11′

‘Tis the season of giving, and Valencia’s Christmas presents came early. Specifically, 2 goals and 3 points courtesy of Celta Vigo. Who needs Santa Claus when there’s Santi Mina?

Los Che arrived at the Estadio de Balaidos in somewhat of a weird period. Many saw 6 points in the last 4 games against Europa League winners Villarreal, LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid and high flyers Real Sociedad and Rayo Vallecano as unacceptable despite the standard of opposition. Tonight was a chance to notch a 2nd win in 5 and Jose Bordalas’ men did their job, in a 2-1 away fightback no less.

Decked in red, the Bats came for blood but came undone early in the 11th minute as Celta captain Iago Aspas made the most of an Omar Alderete error to slot home in style after a couple of stepovers in the box. An early sucker punch hurts, but not when your opponents contrive to hand you goals on a silver platter later on.

Valencia’s sloppiness persisted for a while after conceding. It resembled a ping pong game as the ball bounced back and forth between players who simply could not keep control for more than 2 seconds. Celta one-upped that in less than 10 minutes.

The hosts, in their attempt to build from the back, lost sight of a lurking Hugo Duro who nipped the ball from the defender and fired in his 5th goal of the season. The 22-year-old is now the team’s joint top scorer alongside Carlos Soler – what a shrewd signing he’s been.

That should have been the cue for ignition. But Valencia remained in a sort of reverie; red-clad men bumbling about getting the ball ripped from their feet and having no idea why. Only another brain fart by Celta in the 53rd minute allowed the visitors to snatch the initiative.

Winger Brais Mendez’s poor control from a goal kick – described by the commentator as “a touch of a pub player” – invited Jose Gaya to steal in and send a perfect cross to Maxi Gomez. The Uruguayan’s lovely control took the ball away from his mark and he finished superbly, raising his hands in respect for his old club in the aftermath.

And yet, the action rumbled on. Jasper Cillessen came to the rescue just 3 minutes later with an outstanding one-handed save from a Mina header and again late on to deny Mendez’s acrobatic effort. As Celta became more desperate, Valencia at times resorted to some dark arts by going to ground easily, which led to angry whistling reverberating. Bordalas knows what it takes to hold on to a lead.

Said the coach: “We suffered a little more than necessary, but I prefer to focus on the behaviour of the players and I want to congratulate them, as this is the way forward.”

Valencia are up to 8th now – it’s time to get more wins on this unbeaten run.

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