First Division - Day 32

Celta 3 - Alavés 1

Celta: Cavallero; Méndez, Cáceres, Sergio, Sylvinho; Luccin, Vagner (Maurice 86'); Karpin (Giovanella 80'), Mostovoi, Jesuli (Edu 70'); Catanha. 4-2-3-1.

Alavés: Herrera; Geli, Coloccini, Karmona, Téllez (Iván Alonso 58'), Llorens; Mara (Witschge 46'), Astudillo, Pablo (Turiel 66'), Jordi Cruyff; Magno. 5-4-1.

Team changes: Celta: Sylvinho, Jesuli for Juanfran, Gustavo López / Alavés: Herrera, Téllez, Pablo for Kike, Turiel, Ibon Begoña.

1-0. 54. Vagner. Took return pass from Mostovoi and hit low shot past keeper.
2-0. 75. Vagner. Controlled ball outside area and fired long shot into top corner.
3-0. 85. Catanha. Headed down past keeper from long free kick by Mostovoi.
3-1. 89. Coloccini. Shot inside post after corner from left touched on.

Celta's extended their winning streak to four games, during which time they have scored sixteen goals, to consolidate their fourth spot in the league and take them to within a point of their Gallician neighbours Deportivo La Coruña. All four goals came in the second half, with Alavés keeping the high scoring forwards at bay with well organised defensive football until the on-form Brazilian midfielder Vagner finally found a way through. Mané had lined up with a five man defence in front of second choice keeper Herrera, who was back in the side after Kike broke his nose the week before, and Celta did not manage a decent shot at goal until the half hour mark, when Vagner set up Mostovoi only for him to over-elaborate and put his shot just wide. Alavés were looking to surprise Celta on the counter-attack, and although there were no recognised strikers in their side the rapid Mara and Magno were a constant threat, with the former shooting just over the bar before the break and the latter claiming a penalty when pushed over by Cáceres.

Mané went even more defensive when he brought on Witschge for Mara at the break, but he had to change his tactics a few minutes later when Vagner took a return pass from Mostovoi to open the scoring. Iván Alonso came on for Téllez, who will miss next week's game after picking up another yellow card earlier in the game, but that gave Celta more space and Vagner took advantage after a poor clearance by Herrera to score his second of the night with a spectacular shot. Catanha added a third near the end, his seventeenth of the season in the league to take him to the top of the Pichichi chart, and Coloccini got a consolation goal for the visitors in the last minute. With Betis and Barcelona only drawing Celta move two points clear of fifth spot, in line for their first ever appearance in the Champions League. Alavés have never won in seven visits to the Balaidos stadium, and their defeat today means they drop to ninth, a little further away from their objective of returning to Europe next season.