MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 14:44:33| >> :600:445152:445152:
Dec 9, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at Estadio de Mestalla (Valencia)
Attendance: 35,633
Celta Vigo
Zaza (28'), Parejo (81' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Aspas (46')

Result: Valencia close gap on Barcelona with return to winning ways

Valencia move to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo at the Mestalla.

Valencia have closed the gap on Barcelona at the top of La Liga to just two points courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo at the Mestalla this evening.

Goals from Simone Zaza and Daniel Parejo either side of an Iago Aspas strike saw Marcelino's men return to winning ways and stay three points clear of third-placed Real Madrid in addition to moving within striking distance of Barcelona, who are not in action until Sunday.

Celta, meanwhile, remain 10th in the table having suffered only their second defeat in their last six outings across all competitions.

The hosts, who only fell to their first defeat of the season last weekend, almost produced a perfect reaction to losing their unbeaten record after just two minutes when a corner fell to Ruben Vezo, who saw his subsequent effort come back off the post.

Celta also threatened an opening goal in the early stages of the match too, though, with Pione Sisto coming closest for the visitors when his shot from the edge of the area went narrowly wide of the target.

Valencia were soon back on the attack and Simone Zaza needed to be denied by Ruben Blanco at the end of a mazy solo run before Carlos Soler placed an effort just past the post midway through the first half.

Zaza then came close again and was only denied by a fine Blanco save shortly before the half-hour mark, although there was nothing the Celta keeper could do from the resulting corner as Zaza darted to the front post and glanced home his 10th goal of the season.

Another former Premier League flop turned La Liga goalscorer was next to come close when Aspas had his first sight of goal, but his header was tipped over the crossbar by Neto.

Valencia held on to their lead heading into half time, but within a minute of the restart parity had been restored as Aspas made it nine goals in his last eight La Liga games, reacting quickest inside the box to convert a loose ball after a deflection had fallen kindly for him.

It looked as though the hosts might be on course to drop more points in the title race, but they were given a helping hand with only 10 minutes remaining when Hugo Mallo was penalised for a foul inside the area.

Blanco guessed the right way from the resulting spot kick and even managed to get a hand to the ball, but Daniel Parejo's penalty had enough on it to restore Valencia's lead.

Indeed, that proved to be enough to hand the hosts all three points as they kept up their title challenge between the two usual heavyweights of Spanish football by returning to winning ways at the first time of asking.

Valencia (4-4-2): Neto; Montoya, Gabriel, Vezo, Gaya; Soler (gil, 61'), Parejo, Kondogbia, Pereira (Maksimovic, 89'); Zaza, Rodrigo (Mina, 66')

Celta Vigo (4-3-3): Blanco; Mallo, Cabral (Guidetti, 84'), Fontas, Castro; Wass, Lobotka, Hernandez; Aspas, Gomez, Sisto (Mor, 82')

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Ernesto Valverde pictured in 2016
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States25292276
Great BritainGreat Britain14181547
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Real Sociedad00000000

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