Madrid, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- Veteran striker Iago Aspas led Celta Vigo 2-1 over Valencia on Saturday to give his side a share of the lead in LaLiga.
Celta and Villarreal are both on 4 points from two matches, while the latter team are technically first thanks to more goals.
Due to the rippling disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, five of LaLiga’s 20 clubs – including the dominant troika of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – have yet to even start the campaign.
Valencia, after struggling over the summer during the restart, thought they had turned a corner when they beat Levante in the opener to go top of the league.
But Saturday’s game in Vigo was like a bucket of cold water in their faces, though coach Javi Gracia may see a silver lining in that the result will give him ammunition in his battle to get club management to deliver the new signings he says they promised him.
Celta, who started the season with a draw, made a bright start. Denis Suarez and Emre Mor nibbled around the edge of the Valencia defense before Nolito brought the ball from midfield into the final third, eluded four defenders and relayed to Aspas, who beat goalkeeper Jaume Domenech to make it 1-0 for the hosts in the 13th minute.
Valencia tried to respond, yet their only chance of the first half with a shot from distance by Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Just 30 seconds into the second half, however, the visiting team pulled level. Daniel Wass delivered a cross into the area and Maxi Gomez beat Celta defender Jeison Murillo to the ball to make it 1-1.
Aspas reclaimed the lead for Celta in the 57th minute on a direct free kick. And it took a good save by Domenech to prevent Nolito from stretching the advantage to two goals just minutes later.
Trying to salvage a point, Valencia showed flashes of character in the final minutes. Maxi forced a stop from Celta keeper Ivan Villar and Gabriel Paulista sent a header just wide.
Valencia fell to fourth, trailing Granada.
Earlier Saturday in Villarreal, visiting Eibar went ahead early in the second half on Kike’s goal.
Gerard Moreno knotted the score at 1-1 in the 63rd and Paco Alcacer got what would turn out to the match winner eight minutes later.
For Getafe, a goal by Jaime Mata in the 54th minute proved to be enough for a 1-0 victory against Osasuna. EFE