Luca de la Torre and Celta Vigo notched another league win to continue their climb through the La Liga standings, while Yunus Musah and Valencia stayed in the relegation hole in a heavy loss to Atletico.
Espanyol 1 – 3 Celta Vigo
American midfielder Luca de la Torre played just under 70 minutes in Celta’s midfield, helping them to a convincing win over Espanyol, as they continued their recent hot run in league play.
The USMNT player played 69 minutes on the left side of the midfield, had 22 touches, completed 11 of 13 passes, made one clearance, two recoveries, won one out of seven duels, drew one foul and committed another.
Gabriel Veiga put the Sky Blues ahead after 26 minutes, taking a short lay-of from Carles Pérez and after needing a second to gain his footing, lifted his shot from the left side of the area to the far edge of goal for the 1-0.
Iago Aspas made it two for the visitors from the spot, after Pérez was toppled at the 43-minute mark by Espanyol defender Leandro Cabrera, with his attempt to the lower right corner sending keeper Fernando Pacheco diving the wrong way.
After his limited shift, de la Torre left the field in favor of Franco Cervi in the 69th minute, and the substitute rewarded his coach’s choice by hitting a cheeky, no-look pass back Pérez at the top edge of the box, who created space for his low finish to the right for the 3-0 lead with nine minutes on the clock.
While José Gragera did pull one back for the hosts in the 86th minute, taking advantage of an undue amount of chaos on a corner to redirect the ball over the line, the three points went to the visitors.
Celta climb to tenth place thanks to the victory, and will look to continue their long unbeaten run on April 2 with a home game against Almeria.
Atletico Madrid 3 – 0 Valencia CF
A three goal loss in Madrid to Atletico kept Yunus Musah and his Valencia teammates in trouble, however they will still feel hard done by after a potentially game-changing call in the first half went against their favor.
As per usual, Musah started on the right side of Valencia’s central midfield, alongside center-man Hugo Guillamon, and put in a 63 minute shift. He had just 35 touches, completed 24 of 29 passes, created one chance, successfully made 11 tackles, had two recoveries and won three out of four duels.
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann put the hosts ahead midway through the first half, deftly deflecting a through-ball into the area from Marcos Llorente with his own back-heel flick, then looping his low shot around Giorgi Mamardashvili’s grasp for the lead.
Much to the rage of the visitors, Hugo Duro’s seeming equalizer just before the half-hour off of a fine, long-ball from Musah was called back for an apparent foul at the other end of the field committed by Dimitri Foulquier while generating the crucial turnover.
Atletico capitalized on their good fortune, doubling their lead four minutes after the break when a scrappy sequence ended with the persistent Yannick Carrasco playing a give-and-go with José Giménez, before hitting his angled shot from the left side to the far edge of goal.
Musah was pulled three minutes past the hour in favor of Guinean midfielder Ilaix Moriba, however this did little to improve Valencia’s fortunes.
Thomas Lemar finally put the cap on the game in the 67th, hopping up at the edge of the six-yard box to head hoe Alvaro Morata’s cross for the final 3-0 score.
Valencia remain where they did before the weekend, namely still in big trouble, occupying the top of the three relegation spots, albeit within a single win of safety. They return to action after the international break with a home game against Rayo Vallecano on Monday, April 3.
Jonathan Gomez was not with Real Sociedad’s first team on Sunday as they solidified their hold on La Liga’s fourth Champions League qualification spot with a 2-0 home win over Elche.
Samuel Shashoua was not in uniform for Tenerife’s thumping 4-1 home win over Las Palmas in La Liga 2 action on Saturday evening.