Atletico held by impressive Celta Vigo


Pablo Hernandez's audacious first-half goal helped Celta Vigo claim a 2-2 draw from a hugely entertaining clash against Primera Division champions Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon. Hernandez opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he somehow managed to volley a high hanging ball past Miguel Moya with his heel, but Atletico battled back and were ahead by half-time thanks to goals from centre-back pairing Joao Miranda and Diego Godin. Celta would not roll over, though, and drew level in the 53rd minute through Nolito's penalty after Carles Planas had been bundled over in the box by Miranda. Both teams pushed for the win after that but rival goalkeepers Moya and Sergio Alvarez stood firm to ensure their teams remain unbeaten in La Liga. Atletico came into the match following a mixed week, beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu before going down 3-2 to Olympiacos in their Champions League opener, and they were still missing coach Diego Simeone on the bench due to his eight-match ban. However, the Rojiblancos did not look to be suffering from those setbacks and Koke, Arda Turan and Tiago all tried their luck as the home side sought an early goal. It was Celta who made the breakthrough first, though, with Hernandez scoring an early contender for goal of the season. Any chance of strike on goal looked to have gone as Planas' long ball forward from near the halfway line cleared Hernandez's head as he jostled with Godin in the area. However, the Chile international got his heel on the ball as it came down behind him to wrong-foot Moya, who had been about to set off in chase of the loose ball in the opposite direction. Hernandez's nonchalant celebration belied what was an exceptional piece of skill that would have been a fitting winner for any match — but it was not even enough to give them a half-time lead as Atletico roared back. Griezmann shot wide and Alvarez did superbly to deny Raul Jimenez following some poor defending, but more slack marking in the 32nd minute allowed the unmarked Miranda to latch onto Turan's inswinging free-kick to side-foot home the equaliser. Then, with four minutes to half-time, Godin climbed highest to power home a trademark header from Gabi's corner to put Atletico in front. The home side would have expected to go on and claim all three points after that but Celta were level again in the 52nd minute when Planas' clever turn tricked Miranda into a clumsy challenge, and from the resulting penalty half-time substitute Nolito made it 2-2. Atletico laid siege to the Celta goal as they sought a winner but Jimenez and Koke had efforts disallowed for offside while Alvarez did superbly to deny both those players in different attacks, as well as Tiago late on. Celta also had the occasional chance to cause an upset, but in the end the spoils were shared.