Spanish La Liga: Sevilla beat Celta Vigo to move up to fourth
Last Updated: 03/01/15 7:46pm
Sevilla moved up to fourth in the Primera Division after limping to an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo, who were forced to play most of the game with 10 men.
Carles Planas was shown a straight red card with just 20 minutes on the clock at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium and shortly afterwards Nico Pareja gave Sevilla the lead from a free-kick.
But the fact the hosts were unable to build on their lead despite their numerical advantage should be of concern to Unai Emery's side as they prepare to battle Valencia, Villarreal and Malaga for the final Champions League spot in the coming months.
Celta gave a good showing of themselves given the circumstances but were unable to avoid a fifth straight defeat and have taken just one point from their last seven matches.
Celta coach Eduardo Berrizo was without his two top scorers Joaquin Larrivey and Nolito through suspension but his side made a strong start to the game, creating no fewer than four chances in the opening 16 minutes.
However, it was not long before they shot themselves in the foot.
Sevilla's Denis Suarez carried the ball towards the halfway line after defending a Celta free-kick and was sent flying by a reckless challenge from Planas, who was shown a straight red card. The defender - a former team-mate of Suarez with Barcelona B last season - was dumbstruck by the decision and took several minutes to leave the pitch.
Sevilla needed just over 10 minutes to take advantage - with Pareja sending a 25-yard free-kick into the far corner and just beyond the outstretched hand of Sergio Alvarez. The defender celebrated by running to the home dugout and holding aloft a t-shirt in support of team-mate Sebastian Cristoforo, who has been ruled out of action for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
Celta made it to the break without receiving further wounds and came into the second period strongly.
They came agonisingly close to getting an equaliser in the 52nd minute when Krohn Dehli cut the ball back to Santi Mina from the left hand side and the striker sent the ball crashing off the crossbar.
Pablo Hernandez later succeeded in curling a free-kick around the wall but Sevilla goalkeeper Beto managed to tip the ball around the post, and then Hugo Mallo cut in from the right hand side to shoot on goal but could not keep the ball under the bar.
Sevilla had been dormant in the second half but then almost put the game to bed. Reyes waltzed into the area and played a one-two with Kevin Gameiro before striking the bar. Celta kept pushing down the other end, but the equaliser they craved remained elusive.