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La Liga
Aug 19, 2013 at 9pm UK


Lopez (42'), Charles (46')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Sanchez (53'), Bifouma (76')

Live Commentary: Celta Vigo 2-2 Espanyol - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Celta Vigo 2-2 Espanyol - as it happened: ID:99547: from db_amp
Sports Mole's coverage of a four-goal thriller from round one of La Liga as Celta Vigo and Espanyol shared the spoils at the Balaidos.

Celta Vigo began life under new coach Luis Enrique in La Liga tonight, with Espanyol the visitors on a night of 90th anniversary celebrations at the Balaidos.

Celta looked the brighter early on and built a two-goal lead with strikes either side of the break from Alex Lopez and Charles.

Espanyol responded strongly and reduced the deficit through Victor Sanchez, before substitute Thievy Bifouma tucked home an equaliser for the visitors 14 minutes from time.

Look back at an entertaining draw that rounded off round one in the Spanish top flight with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage below.

Evening La Liga fans. A packed first weekend of action from Spain's top flight continues with a first look at Celta Viga tonight, under the stewardship of Luis Enrique. The former Roma boss hosts Espanyol tonight, who are still adjusting to life under fiery Mexican Javier Aguirre.
Celta clung on to survival by the skin of their teeth last season, thanks largely to a goal glut from Iago Aspas. The wiry striker has left for Liverpool in the close season, with Enrique making a string of cut-price deals in a bid to reshape the squad in his absence.
It looks the like burden to fill in for Asaps will fall largely on Charles, the former Almeria forward who scored 27 goals in the second division last season. He looks likely to make a home debut tonight, in a match which marks Celta's 90th anniversary celebrations at the Balaidos.
Espanyol have endured a difficult summer, with the most notable departure Joan Verdu joining Real Betis. Aguirre has been forced to wheel and deal with little resources, but did manage to get Pizzi on loan from Deportivo.
More than ever this season Espanyol will be heavily reliant on Sergio Garcia, who has quite surprisingly stayed with the Catalan club. The 30-year-old has never been prolific but does bring others into play, and will need plenty of support to help the visitors stave off relegation fears for another season.
TEAM NEWS! Both sides have named their starting XIs and look attacking on paper, which hopefully bodes well for an entertaining clash. Celta have handed Charles a home debut, while Pizzi's makes a maiden appearance for Espnayol. A full look at both sides will follow in just a few moments.
CELTA: Yoel, Hugo Mallo, Cabral, Fontas, Toni, Oubiña, Alex Lopez, Krohn-Dehli, Augustus, Charles, Nolito
ESPANYOL: Victor, Stuani, Sergio Garcia, Pizzi, David Lopez, Moreno, Javi Lopez, Fuentes, Colotto, Simao
Celta look likely to operate in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation, with Nolito playing just in behind. Experienced Danish winger Michael Krohn-Delhi will provide support from the left wing, while former Barcelona B defender Fontas makes his debut in central defence.
Espanyol should operate in a similar system, but are without Wakasao and Victor Alvarez through injury and suspension. Portuguese forward Simao and Pizzi will play closest to Garcia in a lone front role, while Christian Stuani starts on the right wing.
PREDICTION! As Enrique and Aguirre exchange pleasantries there is just time hazard a guess at the result. I think on a special night for Celta the home side will be fired up enough to start the season in style. Espanyol struggle for goals away home, so I'll got for Charles to net on his debut in a 2-0 home win.
Here we go then at the Balaidos, with Espanyol getting us underway in and almost immediately smashing a long ball out of play on the far side.
Celta are just starting to find their feet as Nolito shows pace out wide in the early stages. Both sides look a little tentative as Pizzi gets to the touchline before cutting back. The midfielder has slipped on the turf in making that pass and looks in some discomfort, punching the floor in disappointment at picking up a problem so early on.
Espanyol continue with 10 men now as Garcia darts inside the penalty area, with his strong run eventually blocked by a timely interception from Fontas.
Khron-Dehli has actually started in a central position for the hosts, with a neat pass finding Nolito in space out wide. The forward has space and decides to shoot early, but his wayward drive ends up flying at least five yards over the crossbar. Meanwhile Pizzi has returned for the hosts, but for how long?
Celta are just guilty of ill discipline early on as Khron-Dehli and Cabral concede successive needless free kicks on the halfway line. Espanyol then put a fine move together down the left through Simao, winning their first corner kick.
YELLOW CARD! Victor Sanchez becomes the first player to be cautioned after cynically stopping a swift Celta counter. His late lunge stopped Alex Lopez in his tracks, just as he looked to be bursting through with purpose into the opposition half. No complaints there from the visitors, a stone-wall booking.
Both sides are just lacking a cutting edge in the final third at the moment, but Espanyol do look bright on the counter, particularly on the left flank. Celta are next to surge forward through Nolito, who wants too many touches inside the penalty area and is eventually crowded out.
Celta keeper Yoel is off his line quickly to stop Garcia meeting Pizzi's swift through ball down the middle. Aguirre is motioning furiously on the touchline, but must be content with a solid start made by his charges away from home.
A first encouraging forward run from Charles in attack for Celta, as he controls on the halfway line before driving into the final third. After lacking the support the forward eventually offloads to Augusto Fernandez, but his cross towards the back post is poor one.
Nolito's theatrical fall inside the penalty area fails to fall the referee, but the former Benfica gets up to cross and force Casilla to punch clear under pressure. Much more like it from the hosts, who are keeping possession better as the half wares on.
The hosts have numbers forward the as Fernandez's cross comes in Nolito is penalised for a foul on Moreno. It's fair to say both keepers have been let off the hook so far tonight, but the crowd at the Baliados remain upbeat!
YELLOW CARD! Charles peels off to the right wing and sends a cross towards the near post, which is well read and claimed by Casilla under virtually no pressure. One of the two teams need to commit more bodies forward at some point, as Augusto goes into the book for a late lunge on Victor Sanchez.
Fuentes and Stuani both break down either flank in quick succession for the visitors, but the former is unable to win a corner as he puts pressure on Mallo near the touchline. The struggle continues here at the Balaidos!
Simao's final diagonal pass towards Garcia at the back post just lacks quality, which sums up the first period. Augusto then aims a speculative cross towards the near post at the other end, which requires a late tip round the post from Casilla.
GOAL! Celta 1-0 Espanyol (Lopez)
The first purposeful pass inside the final third tonight has created the opening goal. It was Khron-Delhi who unlocked the home defence, chipping over a static back four to find a forward run from Lopez. His quick turn and shot showed a surprising clinical streak, finding the bottom corner to put hosts ahead just before the break.
YELLOW CARD! Fuentes goes into the book after pulling Charles down just outside the penalty area. Espanyol are just falling apart on the stroke of half-time, as Nolito's
deflected shot turns off the wall and over for a corner kick.
YELLOW CARD! Just time for Lopez to be the fourth player cautioned before the interval, after showing his studs in a high challenge on Simao.
HALF-TIME Celta 1-0 Espanyol
After a largely subdued opening Celta have snatched the lead after springing into life late in the half. Lopez's clinical finish is the difference between the two sides, with Espanyol in truth showing little attacking intent during that 45 minutes.
Celta have looked neat and tidy in possession minus a shaky start, staying patient and waiting for movement from Nolito and Charles in attack. Krohn-Deli has provided experience and an eye for a pass just ahead of the midfield, and that assured approach helped the Dane produce a sublime through ball that helped break the deadlock.
Espanyol have failed to provide Garcia with a supply line, with Pizzi and Simao largely ineffective in advanced attacking positions. Hopefully from a neutral perspective conceding before the break will force Aguirre's side to press higher and force the issue when play resumes.
Both sides are heading back out at the Balaidos, with Enrique's Celta 45 minutes away from a first win of the campaign. Espanyol will surely show more desire when play resumes, after being content to sit back and wait for the counter throughout the first 45 minutes.
GOAL! Celta 2-0 Espanyol (Charles)
Charles has just opened his Celta account less than two minutes into the second half, giving Celta clear daylight. The forward was given a criminal amount of space in the penalty area and took advantage, guiding Krohn-Delhi's curling cross into the far corner with an assured header. A long way now back now for Espanyol, who were fast asleep when play resumed.
The former Almeria man nearly breaks clear once more almost instantly when play resumes, with only a last-ditch block from Moreno denying the striker a free strike at goal from a tight angle. Worrying times here for Aguirre as sits pensive on the touchline.
GOAL! Celta 2-1 Espanyol (Sanchez)
We have a game on our hands now as Espanyol reduce the deficit out of almost nothing. Sergio Garcia's purposeful run created the goal, with the ball eventually falling to Victor Sanchez just outside the penalty area. The former Barcelona midfielder made no mistake with a precise curling drive, sending the ball just inside the near post and beyond Yeol. Game on at the Balaidos!
YELLOW CARD! Simao has been cautioned for an innocuous challenge in the far corner, with Espanyol quick to break when play resumes as Garcia has a shot blocked well wide from distance.
SUBSTITUTION: Aguirre makes his first change and looks to inject some pace into the visitor's forward play. Pizzi has been replaced by Thievy Bifouami, who has immediately taken up an advanced attacking position.
SUBSTITUTION: Thievy throws himself to the ground in his first involvement under a challenge from Mallo, but the referee doesn't buy it and waves play on. Celta then make their first change just after a shot on target from Theivy, with Barcelona loanee Rafinha on to make his debut in place of Nolito.
Celta are just starting to show some nerves in possession, giving the ball away cheaply in midfield on more than one occasion. Time for cool heads from the hosts as Espanyol press for an equaliser they scarcely deserve, with plenty of time to make it happen.
SAVE! The referee's whistle continues to be a prominent feature of the second half, with Toni the player penalised this time for a foul on David Lopez. Celta are quick to break and create an opening down the flank through Rafinha, who curls a strike towards goal that forces Casilla into a routine stop.
An excellent drive inside from Rafinha sees the youngster beat two players as he slaloms into the penalty area, the fierce low strike that follows stay central enough for Casilla to parry clear. Carles is on hand to recycle possession, with his tame strike trickling through to a grateful goalkeeper.
Cabral defends well to win a goal kick for the hosts, with the break in plau allowing Espanyol to make a change. David Lopez is the player withdrawn in favour of former Barcelona youngster Abraham, who has a little over 15 minutes plus added time to make an impact.
GOAL! Celta 2-2 Espanyol (Thievy)
Thievy has marked his return to Espanyol with a goal from the bench and all of a sudden the visitors look most likely here. The Frenchman stole away at the far post, driving inside before tucking home neatly. Celta have faded badly and now need to dig deep to avoid a late collapse.
SUBSTITUTION: A very conservative change for Espanyol here in the closing stages, perhaps shutting up shop for a battling point. Lone striker has been replaced by Raul Rodriguez, who will most likely sit in midfield as Thievy is pushed further forward.
SAVE! A magnificent springing stop from Casilla has denied Celta a late winner. Cabral met a corner with a header aimed down into the ground. With the ball skidding up off the turf the visiting keeper showed terrific reflexes, leaping high to claw clear of the top corner and away. That save may just be worth a point to his team!
SUBSTITUTION: Celta make a late change in attack, swapping the goalscorer Charles with David Rodriguez, who has a few minute to impress. When play resumes Rafinha is deservedly booked for pushing Thievy to the ground, a cynical foul to stop the Frenchman bursting forward.
Krohn-Delhi is hauled to the ground by Javi Lopez as he looks to break forward quickly, but the Dane wastes a promising set-piece opportunity by driving wide from at least 35 yards. Just time for a final Celta change, with Levy Madinda replacing Alex Lopez.
One last chance for Celta to spring forward in stoppage time, with Madinda's speculative pass into the penalty area falling short. Espanyol then smash clear to Thievy at the other, with his pace enough to draw a mistake and win a corner kick.
No joy for Espanyol from the corner kick, that should just about do it here at the Balaidos.
FULL-TIME Celta 2-2 Espanyol
So in the end both sides have to settle for a point from their opening game, with Espanyol definitely the happier after coming back from two goals down.
That concludes Sports Mole's updates of a packed first round of La Liga action. Thanks for your time and be sure to stay with us all season for comprehensive coverage from across Europe. Goodnight!

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