Espanyol react in the second half to claw back a point
The La Liga draw for the 2013/14 season was a rather unusual one since the last match of the previous season – also an away match at Celta – was repeated for game 1 of the present season.
It was just mere coincidence, but last season’s final match was enough for Celta to avoid relegation thanks to their 1-0 victory against us, in a very tense match. Therefore, this match was in a way, episode 2 of the series. Aguirre had warned the
players of this in the press conference the day before the match.
Celta was keen to retain the same celebratory atmosphere from last season’s finale in this match and enlisted the support of their vociferous fans in their attempt to do so.
Both teams arrived to this point with identical excitement and expectations, very aware of the fact they had to perform better than the previous year. Both squads were anxious to kick-start the season on the right footing.
It took a while for both sides to get some sort of rhythm happening. The first 30 minutes saw little action at the end of both goals. Then, the last quarter of an hour prior to half time Espanyol had two clear opportunities. Stuani tried shooting at
Yoel after a great collective move and Sergio Garcia, in a counter-attack, tried shooting from a very sharp angle which
rebounded off Yoel’s body. However, shortly afterwards, the blow arrived as Álex, in a borderline offside position, beat Kiko, slotting the ball under his body in what was perhaps the only clear goal chance during the first half.
If things ended badly for us in the first 45 minutes, the second half could not have started any worse. In their first approach on goal, Charles headed in their second goal. That score seemed too harsh a punishment for the blue and white players. Nevertheless, our team gradually improved and only a few minutes later Víctor Sánchez produced a strong shot from outside the 18 yard box, after a rebound and scored our first goal. The match was not over yet, 40 more minutes remained.
Both managers reacted immediately: Aguirre brought on Thievy (who very nearly scored) and Luis Enrique replaced Nolito with Rafinha.
The match increased its intensity during the final stretch and it was Thievy who levelled, capitalising a long pass by Javi López with a long run of his own to get into a one-on-one position with the home goalkeeper, beating him just as Yoel was
leaving his goal line.
But the match was not yet finished: Kiko performed an incredible save as he literally flew to the left of his goal to clear away a corner kick headed by Cabral in spectacular action, leaving all of us astonished. Espanyol enjoyed another clear goal
opportunity with a Colotto header which rubbed the post after a corner kick.
Celta: Yoel, Hugo Mallo, Fontas, B. Oubiña, Alex López (Madinda, min.88), Nolito (Rafinha, min.62), Charles (David R, min.82),
Toni, G. Cabral, Krohn Dehli, Augusto.
Espanyol: Kiko Casilla, Víctor S, Stuani, Sergio García (Raúl R, min.77), Pizzi (Thievy, min.58), David López (Abraham
min.71), Moreno, Javi López, Fuentes, Colotto, Simao.
Goals: 1-0: Álex López (min.41); ; 2-0: Charles (min.46); 2-1 Víctor Sánchez (min.52); 2-2: Thievy (min.74).
Referee: Mr. Teixeira Vitienes (C. Cántabro). Yellow cards shown to: Víctor Sánchez (min.12), Augusto (min.31), Fuentes
(min.44), Álex López (min.45), Simao (min.56), Rafinha (min.84), David Rodríguez (min.86), Javi López (min.87).