Atletico drop stunner to Celta; Rayo Vallecano top Villarreal to stop skid

Atletico drop stunner to Celta; Rayo Vallecano top Villarreal to stop skid

Author : Fox SportsMon, 16 Feb, 2015, 17:04

Celta Vigo stunned Atletico Madrid to bring the champions back down to earth after last week's demolition of Real Madrid, winning 2-0 at Balaidos thanks to two second-half goals.

Nolito converted a hotly-contested penalty in the 58th minute and Fabian Orellana then sealed the points for the Galicians with a thumping drive.

The defeat means Diego Simeone's side are in the same position as before their dream derby win - third in the Primera Division and seven points behind Carlo Ancelotti's side - while Celta put further distance between themselves and the relegation zone and moved up to ninth in the table.

Eduardo Berrizo's side had held Atletico to a 2-2 draw at the Vicente Calderon at the start of the season - one of just two teams to take points off them at home this season - and played with more intensity than the champions in the first half at Balaidos without creating too many clear chances.

The key moment in the game arrived 12 minutes into the second half, when Nolito tried to round Mario Suarez in the area and tripped over his trailing leg. Atletico were particularly furious at the decision, also claiming that Augusto Fernandez had handled the ball before entering the box. However, Nolito kept his cool from the spot and slotted into the bottom corner.

Mario Mandzukic tried to respond immediately for the visitors by shooting at goal from 25 yards, but Sergio Alvarez made a fine save to keep his side ahead.

Joaquin Larrivey should have killed the game off a moment later, arriving at the far post to meet Nolito's cross but failing to properly connect with the ball.

Atletico were not about to throw in the towel either, and Alvarez had to fling himself at the near post to prevent Antoine Griezmann's powerful effort squeezing in.

But Celta refused to simply sit back and soak up the pressure and instead kept on looking for the second goal, which they found with 19 minutes left.

Michael Krohn-Delhi strolled towards the area unopposed and played in Orellana on the right hand side of the box, and the Chilean arrowed the ball into the far corner.

Atletico still refused to give up, but this was never meant to be their day, as was demonstrated when they were denied a penalty as Guilherme Siqueira was kicked in the thigh by Andreu Fontas, and later when Mandzukic sent a free header straight into Alvarez's hands.

 

Rayo Vallecano 2, Villarreal 0

Second half goals from Alberto Bueno and Gael Kakuta saw Rayo Vallecano beat Villarreal 2-0 to pick up their first home victory in almost three months.

The win brought a welcome end to a three game losing streak for the Madrid outfit, widening the gap between them and the relegation zone to seven points.

Perhaps with an eye on his team's Europa League match with Red Bull Salzburg next Thursday, Marcelino made five changes to the team that beat Granada 2-0 the previous weekend, handing a debut to 23-year-old midfielder Sergio Marcos in place of captain Bruno Soriano, who has been ruled out of action for at least two months with a fractured fibula.

The coach also left key attackers Luciano Vietto and Denis Cheryshev out of his starting line-up for the second league game running, while his opposite number Paco Jemez made four changes to the team that had lost 2-0 at Elche.

Rayo lost this fixture 5-2 last season but the first half was a cagey affair, with the hosts taking the initiative in the play but only managing to create chances from crosses into the box, with neither Leo Baptistao nor Lica able to trouble Sergio Asenjo.

Villarreal showed little sign of the fluid, fast football that has won them so many admirers this season but the best two chances of their first half fell their way.

First Victor Ruiz blazed over from a few yards out following a ball from Marcos, and then Giovani dos Santos was presented with a misplaced pass and rounded Rayo goalkeeper Tono, but could not find the net from a tight angle, the ball instead bouncing across the face of the goal.

Rayo took the lead just six minutes into the second half. Bueno controlled a corner at the far post and was afforded too much time by Villarreal's defenders, allowing him to roll the ball past Asenjo from close range.

Marcelino quickly brought on his artillery in the form of Vietto and Cheryshev, and the pair immediately combined to create a chance, but the Argentinian could only send his Russian team-mate's cross over the bar.

Then Rayo found the all-important second goal. Substitute Manucho headed a long ball towards the byline and Lica stretched to keep it in play and cross to the near post, where Kakuta arrived to side-foot past Asenjo.

Vietto later hit the post at the other end after a fine cross by Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell and was also prevented from converting the rebound due to brave goalkeeping by Tono.

And there was more trouble for the visitors as Cheryshev was forced to leave the pitch with a bloodied head after receiving a boot to the face.

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