Masip saves a point for Pucela
LA LIGA SANTANDER ROUND 29
ESTADIO JOSÉ ZORRILLA, VALLADOLID, SPAIN
REAL VALLADOLID 0
CELTA VIGO 0
(Iago Aspas missed penalty 71’)
Jordi Masip was the blanquivioleta hero, saving a penalty from Celta captain Iago Aspas in the second half to preserve a share of the points.
This was the first of Real Valladolid's home matches since the resumption of play in LaLiga and was played without fans at the Jose Zorrilla.
The bulk of play was shared between the sides with Real Valladolid enjoying a better first period, while the visitors began to exert more of an authority in the second.
After an away win at Leganés to resume the season, Sergio made just two changes to his lineup. Raúl Carnero made way for Toni Villa on the left of midfield and Míchel returned to the first eleven having spent the previous match on the bench.
Celta Vigo’s lowly league position masked the abundance of quality throughout the squad, which further added to supporters’ frustrations as the team battles against relegation for the second consecutive season. Manager Óscar García rang the changes following a 1-0 loss at Villarreal on Saturday. He switched to a defensive 5-3-2 formation, with Hugo Mallo, Pape Cheikh, Filip Bradarić, Santi Mina and Juán Hernández finding themselves ostracised in favour of Kevin Vázquez, Joseph Aidoo, Okay Yokuşlu, Fran Beltrán and Fydor Smolov.
The opening 20 minutes were bereft of chances, as the teams played conservatively to begin with. The first opportunity fell to Turkish striker Enes Ünal, who had got on the scoresheet last week against Leganés, as he headed over the bar from Míchel’s out-swinging corner from the right. Moments later, the midfielder had a shot himself, seeing his volley going over Rubén Blanco’s bar after Javi Moyano’s cross from the right flank found him.
Míchel was taking full advantage of his return to the starting lineup as he delivered a freekick onto the head of Joaquín who headed just wide right, but the offside flag was raised nevertheless.
Toni Villa had probably the clearest chance of the first period, as he scythed through the Celta defence and bore down on Rubén Blanco, but as he tried to play across the face of goal for Sergi Guardiola, the goalkeeper stood up well to block the attempt.
Joaquín was then shown up defensively, as he struggled to deal with Smolov who turned him one way then the other but a great covering tackle from Rubén Alcaraz took the sting out of his shot.
Celta began to grow into the match as time in the first half dwindled, registering two threats in the closing minutes. Firstly, Lucas Olaza sent a teasing, deep free-kick into a congested home penalty area but Masip plucked the ball from the air despite the close attention of Jeison Murillo. In stoppage time, Olaza again delivered a free-kick into the box which was headed out by Mohammed Salisu as far as Beltrán and the midfielder cracked a half-volley towards goal which found it’s way over Masip’s bar as the ‘keeper covered it.
The second half began with Guardiola testing Blanco from inside the box, but the Celta stopper was equal to the task and saved low to his left.
At the other end, Masip denied Celta a goal as he pushed Aspas’s effort past his right-hand post. The Celta striker had gathered on the edge of the box from Smolov’s short pass and wrapped his left foot deftly round the ball to place it sublimely in the bottom corner, but the home goalkeeper stretched out fully to turn the bouncing shot wide.
Masip was called into action again when Olaza’s free-kick deflected off the wall back into the path of the defender, who then played an incisive pass into the box which was met full force by Beltrán who smashed it at the goal, but Masip parried the effort away to maintain the deadlock.
With less than twenty minutes of normal time to play, Aspas and Masip squared off again in the pivotal moment of the match. Alcaraz was adjudged to have handled Araújo’s header and the referee pointed to the spot. Aspas was charged with penalty duties and stepped up only to see his left-footed attempt pushed away by Masip at the ‘keeper’s left post.
Celta continued to push for the breakthrough and were almost rewarded in the 96th minute when Denis Súarez was presented with an opportunity from the edge of the area, but he dragged his shot left and the match finished goalless.
On the balance of play, a draw was perhaps a fair result especially as Celta had been the better side in the second half and squandered the best chance of the game. Overall, Real Valladolid had not looked like wanting to take anything other than a draw and did not challenge the five-man back line too often. Celta coach Óscar García opted to only use one substitute within the regulation 90 minuts, bringing on a second in injury time and it could be argued that he left some quality players yearning to break into the action on the bench in a winnable game.
Pucela ended Round 29 in 14th place with 33 points and move on to play Atlético Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, while Celta lie in 17th on 27 points, one place above the drop zone. The Sky Blues have an extra night’s rest before hosting Deportivo Alavés.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-4-2): Jordi Masip; Nacho, Mohammed Salisu, Joaquín, Javi Moyano (Capt.), Toni Villa (Waldo 75’), Rubén Alcaraz, Míchel (Pablo Hervías 62’), Óscar Plano (Fede San Emeterio 62’), Sergi Guardiola (Hatem Ben Arfa 75’), Enes Ünal.
Substitutes unused: Samu Pérez; Pedro Porro, Kiko Olivas, Javi Sánchez, Raúl Carnero, Matheus Fernandes, Antoñito, Miguel.
CELTA VIGO (5-3-2): Rubén Blanco; Lucas Olaza, Nestor Araújo, Jeison Murillo, Joseph Adoo, Kevin Vázquez (Brais Méndez 92’), Rafinha, Okay Yokuşlu, Fran Beltrán, Iago Aspas (Capt.), Fyodr Smolov (Denis Suárez 64’).
Substitutes unused: Iván Villar; Juan Hernández, Pione Sisto, Filip Bradarić, Jorge, Santi Mina, Pape Cheikh, Jacobo González, Fontan.
Referee: Jesus Gil