Papu Gomez scores winner in Sevilla’s wild victory over Celta
Vigo, Spain, Apr 12 (EFE).- Sevilla gave a boost to their hopes of a first LaLiga title in three quarters of century by edging Celta Vigo 4-3 here Monday, a wild road win capped off by a Papu Gomez goal.
The visitors struck early with a goal on a header by Jules Kounde in the seventh minute at Balaidos stadium, but they then were stunned by a Celta side that effectively exerted high pressure and got standout performances from Denis Suarez and Iago Aspas.
Desperate for a win that would keep alive their hopes for a Europa League berth next season, the home team needed just four minutes to take a 2-1 lead.
Aspas netted the equalizer when he converted a penalty in the 20th minute after Santi Mina had been brought down from behind in the area by Kounde. He then gave Celta the lead on a counterattack three minutes later, when he got past Sevilla’s entire defense after a through pass from Suarez and beat goalie Bono in a one-on-one opportunity.
The home side continued to control the action in the ensuing minutes thanks to the dominance of Suarez in midfield, but Sevilla knotted the game at 2-2 on a shot by Fernando that ricocheted off a defender’s leg before traveling far over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net.
Celta responded by scoring a third time in the first half thanks to another remarkable assist from Suarez. His pass seemed to be heading for Aspas but he let it go through to the better-positioned Brais Mendez, who scored past Bono.
The complexion of the match changed, however, after the intermission, with Celta ceding possession and looking only to counterattack.
Sevilla gained new life, nearly making the score 3-3 on a shot by Suso before Ivan Rakitic tied up the game at the one-hour mark after a ball ricocheted to him in the area.
Celta sought to regain control late in the contest, but a blunder by defender Joseph Aidoo allowed Papu Gomez to gain possession just outside the area and shoot past Celta goalie Ivan Villar in minute 76 for what proved to be the game winner.
The home side later clamored for a penalty five minutes later for a play in which Fernando elbowed Facundo Ferreyra in the area, but the referee wasn’t interested.
With the win, fourth-place Sevilla notched their fourth win in five games in LaLiga and now have 61 points, just six behind league-leading Atletico Madrid with just a handful of games left in the season.
The loss was a costly one for Celta Vigo, who remained in 10th place and are still 10 points behind Real Sociedad, the team currently on pace for qualification for next season’s Europa League. EFE