VIGO, Spain – Iago Aspas had a brace on Monday to lead Celta Vigo over Real Betis 3-2 and keep the hosts within two points of sixth-place Sevilla in the contest for European spots.
Even so, with 31 points from 21 La Liga matches, Celta are just three points ahead of 11th-place Leganes, who have a game in hand.
Betis, at 27 points, sit in the 13th spot, trailing Athletic on goal difference.
Celta’s high press limited the options for Betis and set up Aspas’ first goal of the night, an artful strike in the 14th minute.
The home side began the second half in high gear and Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan made two outstanding saves against Maxi Gomez before the Uruguayan beat him with a thunderous header to make it 2-0 in the 57th minute.
With Celta in command, the visitors continued to sputter until the 71st minute, when Sergio Leon cut the deficit in half. The hope for a comeback didn’t last long, however, as Aspas scored his second with 11 minutes left in regulation.
Betis mounted a late charge after Andres Guardado converted from the spot in the 91st minute to narrow the margin to 3-2, but it turned out to be a last gasp.