León’s purple patch puts Celta on red alert

Real Valladolid quintupled their home goal tally for the La Liga season in just 90 minutes of action, destroying Celta Vigo 4-1 at the José Zorrilla Stadium with a flurry of second-half goals to move within grasping distance of the top half.

After a quiet start from both sides, the home fans would have reason to cheer in the 32nd minute. Roque Mesa picked up a promising ball in space and smashed a deflected shot in from the edge of the box, with the ball evading a helpless Agustín Marchesín into the net. However, the euphoria was to be snuffed out shortly before the interval, when Franco Cervi fed a shrewd pass to Óscar Rodriguez, who netted from close range to equalise for the visitors.

After the unforeseen goalfest that closed the first half, the clash once more hit something of a lull, only to spark into life once again just past the hour mark. Sergio León collected a pass and shot firmly from the edge of the box, but his effort bound for the corner was palmed away dramatically by Marchesín. It proved but a meaningless reprieve moments later, when an Álvaro Aguado corner was met well by the head of Joaquín Fernandez, who planted his effort into the roof of the net from close range, reinstating Valladolid’s lead.

Carles Pérez was one part of a double substitution moments later, as Eduardo Coudet sought to rescue a point. But it was not a switch without its risks, and Valladolid killed off their visitors for good with just over a quarter-hour remaining, when Sergio León finally got the goal his earlier endeavours deserved, as he beat his markers to head home from a well-worked Lucas Olaza cross, with Marchesín again unable to prevent a further dent in Celta’s evening.

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Further humiliation would follow shortly after for Celta, whose fifth defeat in six outings was given further infamy. All heads were lost when Joseph Aidoo clumsily fouled his man inside the area, leading to a penalty for Valladolid. León stepped up for his second of the evening, but saw his effort parried away for a corner. Yet, he had just a minute to wait for redemption, as he received an Óscar Plano pass inside the area and finished with aplomb for 4-1.

After what can only be described as a late meltdown – which also saw the usually-reliable Iago Aspas fail to convert two penalties past Jordi Masip in as many minutes – Celta remain stuck on just three league wins away from home in 2022. As for Valladolid, they will look onwards and upwards after claiming just a third win in their last 11 top-flight home H2Hs.

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