|First Division - Day 30|
Racing 3 - Celta 0
Tais (Magallanes 70'), Arzeno, Txema, Juanma; Espina (Jaime 80'), Ismael;
Manjarín, Regueiro, Amavisca; Mazzoni (Rushfeldt 70'). 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Racing: No change / Celta: Cavallero, Mostovoi for Pinto, Edu.
Celta's run of eleven games without defeat came to an abrupt end, thanks in large part to referee Esquinas Torres who left them with nine men with just over a half an hour gone. Things started to go wrong for the visitors when Esquinas allowed Espina's goal to stand in the seventeenth minute, the Argentinian taking a return headed pass from Mazzoni in a clear offside position before scoring. Keeper Cavallero and Mostovoi (just back in the side after a one match suspension) were booked for protesting on that occasion as tempers frayed. And then later in the half Esquinas told Mostovoi not to stand in front of the Racing keeper Ceballos as they were waiting for a corner. Mostovoi guffawed at the referee in disbelief, turned to face his colleagues with a derisory gesture and earned himself a second yellow card and a subsequent red. Celta exploded in protest, and in the ensuing fracas Berizzo got himself sent off as well for telling the referee (a number of times apparently) that he was mad.
Things fell apart after that, and to add insult to injury Cavallero let the ball through his legs to leave Regueiro free to score a second three minutes before half time. The keeper made up for his mistake in part with a finger tip save from Espina, but Racing struck again while the iron was still hot, with Amavisca and Regueiro combining for the veteran winger to add a third in the fourth minute of time added on. Cáceres joined his colleagues in Esquinas's black book for accusing the referee of ruining the game as the teams came off at half time, and Víctor Fernández decided to calm things down, making all three substitutions at the break. Off went Karpin, Gustavo López and Catanha, as much as to protect them from further trouble than anything else, with Yago, Giovanella and Edu coming on.
That effectively ended the game, and with no reason to rush things, Racing settled down to play out the remaining 45 minutes comfortably. The victory was their fifth in a row, and it takes them temporarily at least out of the relegation zone on goal average above Real Sociedad (although their particular average against the San Sebastian side is negative). Celta continue their jinx against the Cantabrian side, having never won once in nineteen visits to the Sardinero stadium (they only have two draws to their name in all that time), and they drop out of the top six to the benefit of Alavés. They must now await the decision of the disciplinary committee, but could be missing two of their key players for next week's derby with Deportivo. Just when you least expect it...