Yunus Musah and Valencia took a huge step towards securing their top-flight survival, getting the best of Luca de la Torre’s Celta Vigo in weekend La Liga action.
Celta Vigo 1 – 2 Valencia CF
While Celta Vigo’s Luca de la Torre and Valencia’s Yunus Musah were never on the field at the same time, the great La Liga Yank-off of 2023 saw both USMNT players take part in the festivities on Sunday afternoon, with the latter directly contributing to the win.
While Celta have done well enough throughout the season to keep comfortably ahead of the relegation places, a difficult run in recent weeks, where they have only notched one win over their previous seven league games, has seen them inch closer to danger.
This is the complete opposite trajectory of their visitors Valencia, who have pulled themselves out of the dumpster in recent weeks, taking seven points over their previous four games to give some hope of avoiding the drop.
In the end, both teams continued their recent trends, even if it did take a late winner from the opportunistic visitors to secure the three points.
After a short trip to the bench, de la Torre returned to Celta’s starting lineup, playing just 55 minutes on the left side of the midfield before being subbed out as the team fought for an equalizer. During his time, he managed a pair of shots, completed 28 out of 29 passing attempts, was successful on his only attempted dribble, won both of his tackles and five of his nine duels.
On the other side of the ball, Musah entered the game moments after Celta scored their equalizer, remaining mostly subdued in his half-hour of play, but generally helped to hold down the midfield until they could pull off the winner in the final moments.
Justin Kluivert put Valencia in the lead after just eight minutes, charging into the area onto a cut-back from Diego Lopez, and strike his low shot to the left of goal.
de la Torre player picked up his fourth yellow of the season in the 27th minute for a foul on Mouctar Diakhaby, and was eventually pulled out in the 55th for Oscar Rodriguez as a part of a double-switch.
Five minutes later, Haris Seferovic pulled Celta even, rising high to head in Fran Beltrán’s corner.
Musah entered the fray moments later in place of assist-man Lopez as a part of a double switch, and was involved in setting up the eventual winner in the final moments of regulation.
The American freed Dimitri Foulquier on the right edge as the nearby defenders were expecting a pass toward the center. This allowed the former French youth international the space to fire a cross towards goal that, Alberto Mari headed in from five yards to secure the points.
Valencia’s Gabriel Paulista was shown a second yellow in the waning moments, but the visitors were still able to hold on and take the victory.
With the tight nature of the bottom part of the standings, the victory moves Valencia up four spots to 13th place. However they are still far from safe with just a three-point cushion and four games left, beginning with a visit from Real Madrid on Sunday.
Celta are one spot and two points ahead of Valencia, meaning that they need to hope that a five-point gap will prove enough despite their tanking form. They visit eighth-place Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Jonathan Gomez is with the United States U-20 team in Argentina preparing for the upcoming World Cup, and did not take part in Real Sociedad’s 2-2 draw against visiting Girona. Barring a major collapse, the defender should return to his Spanish club looking forward to a chance to play in the Champions League next season.
Samuel Shashoua is still recovering from injury and did not suit up for Tenerife’s 1-0 road loss at FC Andorra.