First Division - Day 11

Celta 1 - Racing Santander 1

Celta: Pinto; Coira, Cáceres, Yago, Juanfran; Doriva (Edu 60'), Giovanella; Karpin, McCarthy, Gustavo López (Tomás 81'); Catanha (Noguerol 70'). 4-2-3-1.
Racing: Ceballos; Tais, Arzeno, Mellberg, Sietes; Manjarín, Espina, Jaime, Amavisca (Julio Alvarez 65'); Estévez (Morán 57'), Bestchastnykh (Preciado 57'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Celta: Coira, Doriva, Gustavo López for Velasco, Edu, Tomás / Racing: Bestchastnykh for Preciado.

1-0. 05. Gustavo López. Shot from left deflected in off Espina after Catanha pass.
1-1. 88. Cáceres (own goal). Shot from Moran on left hit player's leg and went in.

A depleted Celta threw away a victory in the last few minutes of this game thanks to defensive errors and some harsh decisions by referee Megía Dávila. Víctor Fernández only had 17 fit players for this game, with Mostovoi and Vagner the latest to fall through injury adding to the five defenders who were already out. Both pulled out of training a day or two before the game, the Russian with a back problem and the Brazilian with a twisted ankle, and the manager was thankful that Juanfran passed a fitness test and Doriva and Gustavo López were back from international duty. Racing for once had a fairly complete side, and Andoni Goikoetxea only made one change, bringing in Bestchastnykh for Preciado in attack.

An early goal by Gustavo López set the scene for an exciting first half, with Racing coming forward looking for an equaliser. Cáceres cleared off the line from a Tais header, and Espina and Bestchastnykh both missed chances in the first half. At the other end, Catanha got the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, but Megía correctly ruled it out for offside. Karpin was close to extending the lead shortly after the restart, and Goiko brought on Morán, Preciado and then Julio Alvarez, and Morán's pass didn't find a taker soon after he came on. Celta were reduced to ten men in the 67th minute when Juanfran got a second yellow card, and Víctor brought on the only defender he had left, Noguerol, for Catanha. Six minutes from time a stupid mistake by Edu, blatantly wasting time by kicking the ball high into the stands only minutes after he had been booked, left the home side with nine. After the match the young Brazilian apologised for his error, claiming that it was a spontaneous action and that he thought the referee was a bit heavy on cards. But this was Megía Dávila, and he wasn't going to miss an easy chance like that to increase his card count.

Celta regrouped around Pinto, but an unfortunate own goal by Cáceres in the last minute, the ball bouncing off his 'standing-on' leg from Morán's cross, gave Racing a point. It didn't do them much good, as they are still next to bottom, but at least they are a point above Osasuna. Celta drop out of the top six, falling behind Oviedo on goal average, but with the top two both drawing as well, they are still only four points from the top. They now go on to the frozen Ukraine for their UEFA cup match against Shakhtar Donetsk, and then have to visit local rivals Deportivo La Coruña three days later without the suspended Juanfran, Edu and also Giovanella, who picked up a fifth yellow card. Hopefully some of their injured players will be back, or they will have to draw on their B team to make up the numbers. Not an inviting prospect at all.