Vigo victorious as Valencia lose first game

October 15, 2006

MADRID, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Valencia slumped to their first defeat of the season when they lost 3-2 at Celta Vigo in an action-packed Primera Liga match at Balaidos on Sunday.

The visitors took the lead through defender David Navarro four minutes before the break, but Celta equalised on the stroke of halftime when striker Fernando Baiano lashed home from the right side of the area.

Celta went two up thanks to quick-fire goals from Iriney and Fabian Canobbio early in the second half and although Fernando Morientes narrowed the lead just past the hour Valencia were unable to preserve their unbeaten record.

With Real Madrid suffering their first defeat when they went down 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday, champions Barcelona are the only team who had yet to lose in the league.

Barca were certain to be pushed all the way, however, when they met Sevilla later on Sunday. The Andalucians crushed Barca 3-0 when the two teams met in the European Super Cup at the start of the season.

At the other end of the table, Athletic Bilbao and Racing Santander notched up their first wins. Bilbao edged a 3-2 win at Gimnastic Tarragona, while Racing clinched a 1-0 victory at Osasuna.

Real Sociedad are the only team who have yet to win a game after surrendering an early lead to lose 3-1 at home to Real Zaragoza.

There was little to separate Celta and Valencia in an evenly balanced first half, but the visitors broke the deadlock when Navarro sent a glancing header into the net after David Villa had whipped a free kick into the area.

Brazilian striker Baiano put Celta back on level terms before the halftime whistle, lashing the ball inside the far post with a first time shot from the right of the area.

Fellow countryman Iriney made it 2-1 with a deflected volley early in the second half and Fabian Canobbio added a third four minutes later with a little help from Santiago Canizares when the Valencia keeper let the midfielder's shot slip through his legs.

Celta returned the favour seven minutes later when their defence gifted Valencia a second, Matias Lequi losing the ball and letting Morientes snap home from 12 metres.

Valencia were unable to battle their way back into contention and their disappointment was compounded when midfielder Jaime Gavilan was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Celta keeper Jose Manuel Pinto seconds before the final whistle.