Saturday, at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo, Spain, visiting Valencia FC defeated hosts Celta Vigo 5-1 in a La Liga game with a score line which in no way reflected the tenor of the vast majority of the match.
The Spanish Football match’s scoreboard will have recorded that at the 13th minute Paco Alcacer converted Daniel Parejo’s through ball in the box for a 1-0 Valencia lead. What was not reflected was that the opportunity was the visitor’s first and only one to that point and that by then Celta had earned three corners and three offensive free kicks around the Valencia box.
Several close calls later Celta did score at the 24th minute via Augusto Fernandez, the third consecutive host player to touch the ball in the play that resulted in the tying score.
After reaching the draw the teams exchanged pretty creative opportunities only to have shots go begging or get blocked by timely defensive slides. The chances, though were about 60% for Celta. Then, at the 45th minute, Parejo scored the goal of the game with a wonderful free kick to the top left corner of the goal from just outside the Celta box.
Thus, the teams went into the locker room at the half with the visitors ahead on the scoreboard but against the run of play. Celta, though, was playing at home with a crowd that appreciates what their small club has been able to pull off this season. So the hosts, flying high on their good play and continuous home crowd support, came out with high hopes of reaching a deserved draw.
But, at the 46th minute, an errant back pass from Jonny Castro was intercepted by Alcacer who was left one-on-one with Celta keeper, Sergio Alvarez, for the easy score. The goal seemed to take the wind out of Celta’s sails and for several minutes the hosts could not find their way back into the match. Then, Nolito seemed to rally his troops and for 18 straight minutes, from the 47th through the 64th, Celta dominated play and was unlucky not to see at least three great chances find the net. In fact, the game should have been level by about the 57th minute.
At the 65th minute, though, Alcacer found Parejo on a breakaway and the visitors were up 4-1. At which time the attendees did the only right thing. They gave their team a standing ovation. The audience knew what they had been witnessing and the scoreboard was not in any way recording what the run of play exemplified. By the 79th minute, with Celta still looking to get at least one back, Valencia scored again, Shkodran Mustafi heading in the final nail in the Celta coffin.
This was perhaps Valencia’s best performance of the year, but it was so for a grand total of about 20 minutes, five in the first half and fifteen in the second. Had Celta scored on more in the early part of the second half, or tied the game in that 18-minute barrage, this might have been another Celta win.
At game’s end the hosts were given another ovation and the visitors, though elated with what they knew as a season-realigning win, exchanged knowing handshakes with their hosts.