January 12, 2013
Garcia chips in with goal
Sergio Garcia's first-half goal was enough to hand Espanyol a crucial three points as they moved out of the Primera Division relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.
The former Spain international gave the hosts the perfect start as he tapped home Christian Stuani's cross from close range after 23 minutes, and despite having more of the ball after the break, Celta struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Vadim Demidov and Iago Aspas saw headers drift just off target but a fourth defeat in five games means that the Galicians are now only ahead of Espanyol on goal difference.
Celta boss Paco Herrera had rested a number of his key players for the second leg of his side's Copa del Rey tie with Real Madrid in midweek with this game in mind, and his plan was nearly vindicated after just 15 minutes as Iago Aspas forced Kiko Casilla into a smart saved with a looping header.
Thereafter though the hosts controlled the opening period and should have been in front five minutes later when Stuani broke clear down the right and picked out a perfect pass for Joan Verdu inside the area, but the midfielder rushed his effort and ballooned the ball high over Javi Varas' goal.
The goal did arrive just moments later as another perfect cross from Stuani to the back post found Garcia with the simplest of tasks to roll home his second goal of the season.
After the break Espanyol were much happier to sit back and protect their lead with the result that the only chances in the second period came from set-pieces.
Celta were first to go close as Demidov nearly marked his league debut with a goal as his header from Michael Krohn-Dehli's cross went jut wide, before Varas produced a brilliant save to turn Stuani's effort behind at the other end.
Herrera then threw on Park Chu-Young, Enrique De Lucas and Toni in search of a goal, but Aspas' header from De Lucas' corner that flashed past the post was as close as they came to getting a goal as Espanyol extended their unbeaten home run since Javier Aguirre took charge to three games.
|Sergio García (23')|
|13 Francisco Casilla||13 Javi Varas|
|6 Juan Forlin||15 Vadim Demidov|
|19 Diego Colotto||12 Gustavo Cabral|
|18 Joan Capdevila||3 Roberto Lago|
|16 Javí López||28 Jonny|
|7 Raúl Baena||8 Álex López|
|4 Víctor Sánchez||4 Borja Oubina Melendez|
|9 Sergio García||10 Iago Aspas|
|10 Verdú||9 Mario Bermejo|
|20 Simão||23 Michael Krohn-Dehli|
|8 Christian Stuani||24 Augusto Fernández|
|17 Juan Albin||Enrique De Lucas 22|
|12 Samuele Longo||Carlos Llorens 16|
|3 Raúl Rodríguez||Park Chu-Young 18|
|27 Víctor Álvarez Delgado||Sergio Álvarez 1|
|23 Cristian Gómez||Nacho Insa 25|
|24 Alfonso||Jonathan Vila 6|
|35 Germán||Toni 20|
|Alfonso for Verdú (77)||Enrique De Lucas for Augusto Fernández (59)|
|Samuele Longo for Simão (84)||Toni for Michael Krohn-Dehli (69)|
|Park Chu-Young for Mario Bermejo (73)|
|Juan Forlin (14)||Álex López (32)|
|Javí López (30)|
|Víctor Sánchez (47)|
|Raúl Baena (66)|
|Diego Colotto (83)|
|· Squads: Espanyol | Celta Vigo|