Crucial three points for Espanyol
Last Updated: 12/01/13 7:45pm
Sergio Garcia: First-half goal secured Espanyol victory
Sergio Garcia's first-half goal was enough to hand Espanyol a crucial three points as they moved out of the Primera Division relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.
The former Spanish international gave the hosts the perfect start as he tapped home Christian Stuani's cross from close range on 23 minutes, and despite having more of the ball after the break, Celta struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Vadim Demidov and Iago Aspas saw headers drift just off target but a fourth defeat in five games means that the Galicians are now only ahead of Espanyol on goal difference.
Celta boss Paco Herrera had rested a number of his key players for the second leg of his side's Copa del Rey tie with Real Madrid in midweek with this game in mind, and his plan was nearly vindicated after just 15 minutes as Iago Aspas forced Kiko Casilla into a smart saved with a looping header.
Thereafter though the hosts controlled the opening period and should have been in front five minutes later when Stuani broke clear down the right and picked out a perfect pass for Joan Verdu inside the area, but the midfielder rushed his effort and ballooned the ball high over Javi Varas' goal.
The goal did arrive just moments later as another perfect cross from Stuani to the back post found Garcia with the simplest of tasks to roll home his second goal of the season.
After the break Espanyol were much happier to sit back and protect their lead with the result that the only chances in the second period came from set-pieces.
Celta were first to go close as Demidov nearly marked his league debut with a goal as his header from Michael Krohn-Dehli's cross went jut wide, before Varas produced a brilliant save to turn Stuani's effort behind at the other end.
Herrera then threw on Park Chu-Young, Enrique De Lucas and Toni in search of a goal, but Aspas' header from
De Lucas' corner that flashed past the post was as close as they came to getting a goal as Espanyol extended their unbeaten home run since Javier Aguirre took charge to three games.
Spanish Primera BBVA