Celta Vigo 1 Malaga 0: Nolito nets winner at the death
Last Updated: 29/04/15 10:03pm
Nolito struck at the death to give Celta Vigo a last-gasp 1-0 win over Malaga and breathe life into the Galicians' hopes of qualifying for Europe.
The in-form forward smashed home a loose ball in the area in the 89th minute to decide an evenly-matched game and turn the race for the final European place upside down.
The Andalusian's late goal gave Celta a third win in four matches and they move on to 45 points, just two shy of Malaga, who still occupy seventh spot but are now level on points with Athletic Bilbao, and have gone seven matches without tasting victory.
Eduardo Berizzo said before the game that his side had to beat Malaga to stand any chance of qualifying for Europe and the hosts made the better start, with Andreu Fontas forcing Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni into a save with barely five minutes played.
Striker Charles and midfielder Pablo Hernandez also squandered chances for Celta, but Malaga came the closest to scoring before the break - Sergi Darder struck the inside of the post and then a few minutes later Samuel Garcia forced Sergio Alvarez to dive low and save his effort from the edge of the area.
Celta then hit the woodwork twice in the same move around the hour mark. Charles headed Fabian Orellana's cross onto the bar and the rebound fell to Hernandez, who nodded the ball off the post with the open goal gaping.
Hernandez was replaced by teenage striker Santi Mina a few minutes later and the change paid off. With stoppage time approaching the 19-year-old broke free down the right and rolled the ball into the box, it bounced off Fernando Tissone and towards Nolito, who shot into the far corner.
Tensions boiled over a minute later following a meaty tackle by Celta captain Augusto Fernandez, and Malaga skipper Weligton got himself booked along with the Argentinian for his reaction to the challenge.
Orellana had a chance to give the home fans another goal to celebrate in the final minute of stoppage time but he fired wide, but Nolito's goal was more than enough for the Balaidos faithful.