Celta claimed a hard-fought victory over Malaga courtesy of a Nolito goal, as Berizzo’s men leapfrog Athletic in the league standings.
Even first half
Malaga CF and RC Celta served up an even first half which saw both sides create chances and enjoy good spells of possession. The hosts’ clearest openings fell to Iago Aspas and Nolito, and it was the latter who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes. Before then, the visitors could have got their noses in front, but Ruben Blanco was equal to Recio’s free-kick.
The Celta hitman was once again at his most potent best. The Andalusian got his name on the scoresheet and was a stand-out performer for the Galicians. The goal came about after an incisive move involving all three of Celta’s attacking trident. Nolito fed the ball to Aspas who slipped Fabian Orellana in behind and the Chilean squared for the Celta number 10 to tap home and make it 1-0.
Malaga up things after the break
The Andalusians pressed for an equaliser in the second period, but were unable to get themselves back on level terms. Duda came close to stealing a point in the 92nd minute, but his free-kick narrowly missed the target.
The Celta goalkeeper was a key man for Berizzo’s side, coming to the Galicians’ rescue on several occasions. Blanco’s finest save came on 82 minutes when he produced a smart stop to deny Igancio Camacho and ensure his side claimed all three points.
This result, along with the goalless stalemate between UD Las Palmas and Athletic Club, sees Celta leapfrog the Basques into fifth place. The final matchday sees the Galicians travel to the Calderon, where they will be bidding to claim a fifth-placed finish which would guarantee direct qualification into next season’s Europa League.