Celta take another step towards safety with win at Sociedad


(Reuters) - Celta Vigo beat Champions League-chasing Real Sociedad 1-0 away from home on Wednesday as they continued to move clear of La Liga's relegation zone.

Celta's talismanic forward Iago Aspas scored the only goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime after being felled in the area by Diego Llorente, who also gave away a spot-kick in Sunday's 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid.

The penalty was Celta's only shot on target in the 90 minutes and they spent the second half sitting back and defending their lead, with Colombian defender Jeison Murillo producing an outstanding display to help shut out the hosts.

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The victory followed Sunday's 6-0 thrashing of Alaves and took Celta, who are 16th, seven points above the relegation zone. Sociedad's top-four hopes, meanwhile, are fading fast as they sit in seventh, six behind fourth-placed Sevilla.

Sociedad badly needed a win to kick-start their bid to return to the Champions League places after a wobbly run since the season returned from a three-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were reeling from their defeat by Madrid in which key refereeing decisions went against them and they again found themselves penalised when Aspas went down after having his shirt tugged by Llorente.

The Basque side dominated the second half but struggled to create much, stifled by Celta's line of five defenders, and slumped to a third straight defeat, picking up only one point in four matches since the season resumed.

Elsewhere, Osasuna beat Alaves 1-0 away with a second-half strike from Toni Lato to edge closer to guaranteeing survival in their first season back in the top flight.

Osasuna moved up to 11th on 38 points and are now 12 points above 18th-placed Real Mallorca.

(Reporting by Richard Martin,; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

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