Celta joint top after 2-1 win at 10-man Villarreal
MADRID (Reuters) – Celta Vigo joined Real Madrid and Barcelona on 18 points at the top of La Liga when Spain winger Nolito pounced with a late winner to secure a 2-1 victory at 10-man Villarreal on Sunday.
Villarreal were top heading into the weekend and had the better of the opening stages at their Madrigal stadium but Celta switched up a gear towards the end of the first half and Fabian Orellana curled in a sweet shot in the 41st minute to put the visitors ahead.
Villarreal were reduced to 10 men two minutes into the second period when defender Eric Bailly, who had earlier been booked for a wild tackle, was shown a second yellow card after he flung out an arm and handled the ball.
Celta struggled to capitalise on their one-man advantage and squandered several clear chances before former Celta youth player Denis Suarez levelled for the home side with a deflected effort in the 67th minute.
Chile international Orellana was again instrumental in the winning goal as another superb curled effort in the 90th minute crashed down off the crossbar and Nolito controlled the rebound and fired low past Villarreal goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
“We are really pleased and we just have to enjoy it,” Celta defender Gustavo Cabral told Spanish television.
“It was really tough here,” added the Argentine, whose side’s next match is at home to Real next weekend.
“We have put in a huge effort to get where we are and it should be a great match against Madrid.”
Real, who thumped Levante 3-0 at the Bernabeu on Saturday when Cristiano Ronaldo set a club scoring record, are top on goal difference after eight matches, with Celta second and champions Barca third.
Barca’s Brazil forward Neymar netted four goals and created one for Luis Suarez in Saturday’s 5-2 success at home to Rayo Vallecano.
Atletico Madrid, the 2013-14 champions, can draw level on 16 points with Villarreal, who are fourth, with a win at Real Sociedad later on Sunday.
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Clare Fallon)