Vila-real (Spain), Dec 9 (IANS) Villarreal scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the contest and nearly netted the equaliser, but their comeback fell just short in a 2-3 home loss to Celta Vigo in La Liga.
Three days after clobbering Almeria 8-0 in a Copa del Rey round of 32 second-leg match, Villarreal on Saturday was punch-less against Celta’s defense for most of the contest at La Ceramica Stadium, reports Efe.
The visitors nearly grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute on a pair of attempts by Brais Mendez, but his first shot was stopped by Villarreal goalie Sergio Asenjo and the second struck the woodwork.
The attacking midfielder, however, found the net on another chance shortly before halftime off a pass from Iago Aspas. Asenjo got his hand on the shot but could not make the save.
Celta then quickly built on their lead at the start of the second half, getting a second goal from Okay Yokuslu in the 49th minute and a third from Maxi Gomez two minutes later.
Villarreal head coach Javier Calleja, who had already sent on Karl Toko Ekambi at the start of the second half, responded to the three-goal deficit by taking out Samuel Chukwueze and inserting yet another striker – Carlos Bacca.
It took time for that latter move to have the desired effect, although the Colombian forward put two balls in the back on the net over a five-minute span.
He first scored in the 83rd minute on an indirect free kick in the area following a blunder by Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, who had gathered a back pass by a defender with his hands.
Bacca then scored again with a close-range header on a corner-kick play in the 87th minute even though it appeared he might have been offside.
Villarreal nearly came all the way back and salvaged a point, but a last-gasp shot by Gerard Moreno in the second-half stoppage time hit the woodwork.
With the win, Celta is provisionally in 10th place in the Spanish league with 20 points, while Villarreal is 17th with 14 points.