Bilbao fights back to beat 10-man Celta, goes fifth in Spain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Aritz Aduriz and Raul Garcia led Athletic Bilbao's 2–1 fightback over 10-man Celta Vigo, leapfrogging the visitors into fifth place in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Espanyol also got a much needed 1–0 win over Sevilla to keep its distance from the relegation zone, while Getafe kept alive its hopes of staying up by winning 2–0 at Deportivo La Coruna.
Fabian Orellana struck first for Celta in the 13th minute, but two rash fouls by Celta defender Gustavo Cabral in a span of four minutes swung the match in Bilbao's favor.
"Until the sending off we had the game completely under our control," said Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez. "It's a pity that we are leaving with a loss."
Aduriz equalized in the 38th from the penalty spot after being pulled down by Cabral, taking his tally to 18 league goals this campaign.
Cabral was sent off following a second clash shortly after, grazing Aduriz's face with his boot while the Spain striker was prone on the ground with play stopped.
"(His) second card was for an absurd act. He didn't have to hit my face ... so the referee did the right thing," Aduriz said.
Garcia put Bilbao ahead in the 72nd after he kicked the ball while on his back following a collision in the area.
Bilbao moved one point above Celta and to within three points of fourth-place Villarreal, which visits Valencia later.
Spain's top four finishers earn a berth in the Champions League. There will be two rounds remaining after this weekend.
"We are going to fight to win the last two matches so we can finish as high in the standings as possible," said Aduriz.
In Barcelona, Felipe Caicedo finished off the rebound of a long strike by Marco Asensio for a 52nd-minute winner. Asensio's shot struck the post and the back of goalkeeper Sergio Rico before falling to the Ecuador striker.
Espanyol defender Alvaro Gonzalez wept while his teammates celebrated their first win in six rounds, which pushed them up into 14th place and five points from the drop zone.
"I think we are close," said Espanyol midfielder Victor Sanchez. "It was very tough, hard fought, but we knew how to get the win, which was what we needed. I hope it makes the difference."
Sevilla, which hosts Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League semifinals on Thursday after their 2-2 draw in Ukraine, stayed in seventh place despite remaining winless on the road in the league this season through 18 away matches.
Getafe continued its turnaround under coach Juan Esnaider, earning a second win to go with a draw in the last three rounds.
Pedro Leon capped a quick buildup in the 41st, and his corner kick was deflected in by Carlos Vigaray to seal the win after Deportivo had been left a man down by Celso Borges' second booking.
"We are still in the relegation zone, so we have to keep fighting," Leon said. "Since Esnaider arrived we have changed our attitude."
Getafe rose into a three-way tie on points with Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano.
Sporting visits Getafe next weekend.
On Saturday, all three title challengers won. Barcelona leads Atletico Madrid on head-to-head goal difference with Real Madrid one point behind in third place.