Celta’s decline has coincided with the drop in Iago Aspas. The Spanish international is far from his best moment, he no longer decides his team’s matches. Against Valencia he played touched, and accused him. Aspas wants to but he can’t, and the best example is that he was substituted at the start of the second half, something that was not remembered in Balaídos.
The match was a final for both teams. It was noticed in the atmosphere, in the tension that reigned on the benches. Celta faced it without two of their indisputable defenders, Aidoo and Javi Galán. And his problems multiplied after a mistake by Cervi, the one chosen to occupy the left side, which Diego López took advantage of to put a good cross on Kluivert, who defined with quality.
Valencia was already in charge after eight minutes, and that accelerated Celta. He took possession of the ball, locked up his rival in his field but hardly generated dangerous chances. The clearest was a shot from the front by Carles Pérez that Mamardashvili pulled off with a great stretch.
Celta lacked balance, it broke as the minutes went by and survived thanks to a good withdrawal from the Peruvian Renato Tapia to avoid Kluivert’s shot at goal mouth and a spectacular save by Iván Villar with his foot from Diego López’s shot.
Both situations at the start of the second act, when the clock was already tightening on Celta. He forgave Baraja’s team, and ended up paying for it because shortly after the Swiss international Seferovic, who had already tested Mamardashvili, equalized the duel with a header. Balaídos exploded and Aspas, who had been replaced minutes earlier by Larsen, celebrated on the bench.
The sky-blue goal destroyed Valencia, a team confused by its qualifying situation. The clash became an idea and back, but it was Celta who was closest to scoring. Baraja moved the bench but the Valencian panorama did not improve. Óscar Rodríguez hit the post with a quarter of an hour to go.
But at minute 86, Alberto Marí took advantage of a huge defensive imbalance in Celta’s central defenders to beat Iván Villar with his header, a goal that could be worth a permanence, a victory that lengthens the Galician agony and is a breath of fresh air for Rubén Baraja’s men.