Aspas double downs Valencia, Emery gets first win with Villarreal

Valencia’s Manu Vallejo (left) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal during the match against Levante on Saturday. (AP pic)

MADRID: The evergreen Iago Aspas scored in either half to give Celta Vigo a 2-1 win at home to Valencia in La Liga on Saturday.

The 33-year-old striker first nipped in to beat the offside trap and meet a pass from Nolito before rounding Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech to score in the 13th minute, the goal being ruled out at first for offside until a VAR review.

Former Celta forward Maxi Gomez equalised for the visitors early in the second half with a powerful header but captain Aspas soon restored his side’s advantage, smashing into the top corner with a freekick.

Aspas, who has spent the majority of his career at Celta save for brief and forgettable seasons with Liverpool and Sevilla, has been the top-scoring Spaniard in La Liga for three of the last four campaigns.

He once again proved Celta’s talisman, having almost single-handedly saved them from relegation in the last two seasons.

Earlier, Unai Emery earned his first win as Villarreal coach after his side came from behind to beat Eibar 2-1 at home.

After being held to a disappointing draw with promoted Huesca last week, Villarreal again fell behind at home to humble opposition when Kike Garcia put Eibar ahead five minutes into the second half.

Emery sprung a double substitution shortly afterwards and the changes paid dividends as Gerard Moreno levelled in the 63rd minute and then played in Paco Alcacer, who rounded the goalkeeper to tap into the net from a tight angle in the 71st.

Pervis Estupinan should have grabbed a third goal in added time when he somehow fired over the bar on the rebound with the goal gaping and his side had to defend deep in the final minutes to see out the victory.

“This is a valuable win but we need to demand far more of ourselves, to make sure we compete towards the top of the table and make a statement to our rivals,” said Emery.

“We have to make sure we keep our heads whatever happens in the game. We have had two tough tests in which we’ve fallen behind after missing chances and had goals ruled out. But we need to learn to deal with our doubts and overcome them.”

Elsewhere, Getafe beat Osasuna 1-0 with a second half strike from Jaime Mata to get off to a winning start after missing the first round of matches.