Athletic Club 2-1 Celta de Vigo: Home side comeback to go into fifth place

Ernesto Valverde’s side showed true character, after conceding an early goal. Athletic Club worked hard on completing a comeback which they did. After scoring in the 13th minute, Celta Vigo weren’t much of a threat and decided to hold on to the lead which was always going to be risky.

Celta strike first, but Athletic equalise

The visitors took the lead after a good start to the game. Marcelo Diaz sent the ball over the defence of Athletic which was poorly positioned. This allowed Fabian Orellana to break through on goal and smash it through the legs of Gorka Iraizoz. Orellana beat the offside trap very well, took a small touch to gain control of the ball before netting his seventh league goal of the season. The goal silenced nearly everyone at San Mames, with the small crowd of Celta fans cheering loudly.

As the first half carried on, Athletic were increasing the pressure to gain a goal back but weren’t doing well enough in the final third. In the 32nd minute, a long ball from Benat Etxebarria led to a wild shot from Oscar De Marcos that was off target and it didn’t trouble the goalkeeper at all.

Athletic’s pressure paid off with not long to go until half time, another long ball from Benat which was well controlled by Aritz Aduriz who was pulled back by Gustavo Cabral led to a penalty. The referee pointed straight to the penalty spot, gave Cabral a yellow card as the Athletic fans felt it was a sending off. The replays clearly showed that Cabral was the last man as he denied a goal scoring opportunity so he was very lucky not to receive the red card. Aduriz took the penalty, slotting it away with Sergio Alvarez not making an effort to prevent it from going in.

Cabral completed another bookable offence two minutes after the first incident, which left the referee with no choice but to send him off. With Celta down to ten men and conceding a goal, the second half was going to be the simple task of Athletic going for the winner.    

Home side complete the job

Celta’s top goal scorer couldn’t do much in the game and was substituted off for defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja.  The away side couldn’t get enough possession with a man down with manager Eduardo Berizzo feeling that it was the right time to make a change on the 55th minute before its too late.

Athletic piled on the pressure in the second half, dominating the possession with the extra man and the visitors decided to drop deep. Iker Muniain found it difficult create chances, Inaki Williams replaced the Spaniard on the 59th minute as the home fans roared the side on.

Inaki’s cross was about to be connected by a shot by Raul Garcia but Segio Gomez completed the block just in time. Garcia was able to react to the loose ball quicker than the defender and somehow lobbed the goalkeeper whilst being on the floor. That was his sixth league goal for the Basque side.

With the final ten minutes to go, the home side were pretty much happy with the lead and didn’t bother to attack much. With a few unsuccessful passes in defence, Athletic conceded a few free-kicks which were some tough moments they had to handle. Celta were not effective from the set pieces, which was a relief for the home fans. With the three minutes added time being completed, the referee blew his whistle as Athletic Club jumped above Celta Vigo into fifth place in La Liga.