Celta Vigo cruises to easy victory at Almeria in La Liga
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Celta Vigo outclassed Almeria on Sunday, winning 4-2 as forward Manuel ”Nolito” Agudo scored two goals and set up another to keep the hosts in the Spanish league’s relegation zone.
Defender Paulao scored one goal and set up another, but both for the wrong team, as bottom-side Real Betis slumped to a demoralizing 3-1 defeat at Rayo Vallecano.
Almeria’s Rodrigo Rios hit the post in the 10th minute, but Celta dominated the rest of the game through forwards Nolito, Rafina and Fabian Orellana.
Rafina set up the opener when his deflected shot fell to Nolito to score in the 19th. Rios leveled in the 40th, only for Nolito to find Charles to cap a buildup started by Orellana in the 52nd.
Another flowing move saw Nolito score from a pass by Orellana in the 71st before Rafina lobbed the ball behind the defense for Orellana to add a fourth four minutes later.
Oscar Diaz got Almeria’s second goal in the 88th but his side remained two points from safety. Celta, meanwhile, climbed into the middle of the standings.
”We went out there with the same philosophy we have had all season,” said Nolito, referring to coach Luis Enrique’s attacking style. ”We have to celebrate this win because it is a big step toward staying up.”
Paulao’s nightmare began when he left his back pass woefully short of reaching goalkeeper Adan Garrido, letting Rayo forward Rochina Raixes poach the ball and roll it in for the 14th-minute opener.
The Brazilian centerback followed that mistake by unfortunately clearing a cross that floated into his own net in the 27th.
Paulao immediately asked to be substituted and was replaced five minutes later, with the Rayo fans in Vallecas Stadium politely applauding him to show their support.
Rayo, which has surged out of the drop zone to the middle of the table with only one loss in nine rounds, kept the pressure on as Joaquin Larrivey tapped in a rebound in the 52nd before Javier Chica got Betis’ consolation goal in the 79th.
Betis was left on the brink of relegation, 10 points from safety with four games to go.