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Last-Minute Penalty Earns Athletic Bilbao 4-3 Victory Against Celta Vigo


Álex Berenguer’s stoppage-time penalty kick and two goals from Gorka Guruzeta helped Athletico Bilbao overcome Celta Vigo 4-3 in the Spanish league on Friday.

With the victory, Bilbao’s home winning streak reached six games, and the distance between them and the top four was reduced to one point.

But after 25 minutes, Iago Aspas of Celta silenced the home crowd with a low strike from just outside the box to open the score. It was the 36-year-old former Liverpool player’s first goal of the year.

Athletic’s Oihan Sancet pulled the team level seven minutes before halftime, but Jonathan Bamba’s header for Celta took the lead again in just three minutes.

Seven minutes into the second half, Guruzeta scored another poacher’s goal to put Bilbao ahead for the first time, leveling the score with a cross from the left in first-half stoppage time. Guruzeta scored twice for the second time this season, bringing his league total to six goals in 12 games.

Midway through the second half, Celta rallied behind Aspas, who was playing brilliantly, and Strand Larsen tied the score at three.

It appeared as though the points would be split until far into stoppage time after Aspas missed his penalty kick attempt in the 72nd minute.

With 98 minutes remaining, Berenguer’s goal sealed the victory for the home team after Oscar Mingueza was sent off for a handball inside the area.

“It was a great game for the fans,” Guruzeta said. “We didn’t give up. They started strongly but you have to fight back.”

For Rafa Benitez, the coach of Celta, the outcome meant yet another dismal evening. Celta is currently third from the bottom in La Liga, and the former coach of Real Madrid and Liverpool has only earned one league victory this season.

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