Real Valladolid ended a five-match winless run in LaLiga by coming back from a goal down to defeat Celta Vigo 2-1.
At just over the halfway stage of this season, Valladolid found themselves only two points above the relegation zone heading into Sunday’s game with opponents Celta a point below in 17th.
Therefore, a win was a must for both teams at the Estadio José Zorrilla in order to avoid the risk of dropping into the relegation zone this weekend.
But the start of the game was overshadowed by the Valladolid supporters who whistled and held up around 16,000 red cards in the stands during the opening two minutes in a protest against the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
The home fans felt that the VAR technology had made some unfair decisions against Valladolid recently and used this weekend’s match to let their feelings be known.
— EDAFE MATTHEW ESEOGHENE (@ELEGBETE1) January 27, 2019
Back on the pitch, however, it was Celta who got off to the better start of the two teams with Miguel Cardoso’s men dominating the opening phase of the encounter.
After Maxi Gómez had come so close to finding the net, Celta were ultimately rewarded for their dominance when a mistake from Míchel enabled the visitors to snatch the ball in the area.
Danish winger Pione Sisto then received the ball and scored a brilliant opener with his left foot that left Valladolid keeper Jordi Masip helpless to do anything about it.
Celta’s goal though did seem to have a positive effect on Valladolid with the hosts suddenly bursting into life and going all-out for that equaliser.
However, much to the Valladolid supporters’ fury, VAR went against them once more when new signing Sergi Guardiola was denied a penalty after the referee, Sánchez Martínez, consulted the technology after the forward’s incident with Hugo Mallo in the area.
The 27-year-old was then denied another chance of a debut goal by Celta keeper Rubén Blanco before Célticos were denied a penalty appeal of their own following an incident in the area between Brais Méndez and Nacho.
Into the second-half and Blanco produced an outstanding save from Óscar Plano after Guardiola’s rebounded shot had put the Spanish forward into a promising position that he ultimately failed to capitalise on.
But Plano soon made up for his miss by firing in Valladolid’s first goal of the game to put the scoreline level at 1-1.
In the 58th-minute of the game, Celta coach Cardoso responded by bringing on Fran Beltrán for Sisto in order to help the side retain more of the ball possession.
Although Valladolid were having none of it and quickly set about searching for a match-winner with Keko Gontán grabbing what ultimately would prove to be the decisive goal 11 minutes later.
A long ball from Nacho eventually found Keko on the right with the central midfielder firing in a low shot to put Valladolid in front for the first time.
— Real Valladolid C.F. (@realvalladolid) January 27, 2019
Then a second yellow card for Celta debutant Wesley Hoedt, who joined this month on loan from Southampton, in the 87th-minute all but ended the visitors’ hopes of a late comeback.
Valladolid then eased off a bit towards the final stages of the match to hold onto their 2-1 lead and claim a vital victory.
The result enables La Pucela to go five points clear of the drop zone for the time being, while Celta remains just a single point above 18th-place Rayo Vallecano with Los Franjirrojos to play Deportivo Alavés on Monday night.
Celta have now lost their last five LaLiga games and will surely be worrying about their chances of causing an upset against the high-flying Sevilla next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Valladolid will likely be eyeing up this Friday night’s trip to bottom side SD Huesca as an opportunity to make it two wins out of two.
Real Valladolid: Masip; Antoñito, Kiko Olivas, Calero, Nacho; Míchel (Anuar, 90), Alcaraz; Keko (Borja, 83), Toni Villa (Verde, 68); Óscar Plano & Guardiola.
Celta de Vigo: Rubén; Hugo Mallo, Araujo, Hoedt, Juncà; Lobotka (Hjulsager, 75), Jozabed (Apeh, 83), Brais Méndez, Boufal; Sisto (Fran Beltrán, 58) & Maxi Gómez.