Alcacer, Parejo lead Valencia to 5-1 win at Celta in Spain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain striker Paco Alcacer and Dani Parejo scored twice each to lead Valencia to a commanding 5-1 victory at Celta Vigo on Saturday that its beleaguered coach hopes will mark a turning point for his inconsistent Spanish league side.
The scoring duo also combined for good passing moves against a third-place Celta side that failed to convert a steady stream of scoring chances during the first hour.
Valencia’s first away win in the league in four outings came after a disappointing 1-0 loss at Ghent in the Champions League. It should relieve some pressure on coach Nuno Espirito Santo, who has also been criticized by some fans for banishing star striker Alvaro Negredo from his squad, before the break for international matches.
“This was an important match before the international break,” Espirito Santo said. “The turning point we will see in two weeks. The loss in Belgium made us reflect.”
Elsewhere, Eibar continued its surprising season by remaining in sixth place, just above Valencia, with a 3-1 win over visiting Getafe.
Eibar forward Sergi Enrich scored twice before provoking a penalty converted by Saul Berjon that left Getafe with 10 men when Damien Suarez was shown a red card in the 60th.
Rayo Vallecano also got two early goals from Javi Guerra before defender Ze Castro earned his second booking in the 20th, but the hosts held on for a 2-1 win over strugglers Granada.
Real Betis provisionally rose into the upper half of the table by edging a toothless Malaga 1-0 thanks to Ruben Castro’s second-half goal.
Lucas Perez scored his seventh goal of the season for Deportivo La Coruna before Victor Camarasa salvaged a 1-1 draw for bottom side Levante with a free kick.
Alcacer opened the scoring at Balaidos Stadium in the 13th after he worked a one-two passing combination with Parejo.
Augusto Fernandez leveled for the hosts in the 24th, but Parejo dipped a free kick over the wall and into the corner of the net just before halftime to restore Valencia’s advantage.
Alcacer added to the lead seconds after the restart when he poached Jonathan Castro’s poor pass before he set up Parejo to score again in the 64th.
Shkodran Mustafi headed home Parejo’s cross in the 79th to cap the rout.
“We were all looking for a win like this one,” Parejo said. “You saw a Valencia with its pride stung and we brought it all out.”
Celta wasted a chance to pull level on points with the top two teams in the league before leader Real Madrid and second-place Barcelona play on Sunday. It remained three points behind the front-runners, and can be overtaken by Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, who also play on Sunday.
“We conceded goals that normally we don’t concede, but we have enough of a team to bounce back from this,” Celta defender Sergi Gomez said.