Final pre-season friendly ends in defeat
CELTA VIGO . . . . 1
LATICS . . . . . . . . . 0
Balaidos Stadium, Vigo
With Gary Calwell, Antolin Alcaraz, Shaun Maloney, Jean Beausejour and James McCarthy all on international duty, Roberto Martinez ‘s experimental side went down fighting in the club’s first ever match on Spanish soil
An Iago Aspas goal with virtually the first kick of the second half was the difference in the end although Ali Al Habsi’s magnificent reaction save to deny Alex Lopez a few minutes later did keep the home side from doubling their advantage. Lopez also crashed an effort on to the cross bar in the first half.
At the other end, Mauro Boselli looked the sharpest of the Latics strikers but chances were few and far between, the best probably coming to Albert Crusat in the first half, which forced Celta keeper Javi Varas into a smart save.
After the break, Boselli almost got on the end of a deep cross from Crusat, but was stretching just too much to be able to control it. He also had an attempt at an overhead kick, but failed to connect properly.
One excellent piece of news was the return of James McArthur, who came on in the second half for his first taste of pre-season action, while Adrian Lopez, playing a rare 90 minutes, played excellently at the heart of defence. And there was more game time for Jordan Mutoe, too, who was quietly impressive at left back.
Roberto Martinez declared the trip a success and said: “These games are not really about the result but it was a great exercise and we can now look forward to focusing on Chelsea in a week’s time”
LATICS: Al Habsi, Jones, Ramis (Mustoe 35), Crusat (Sammon 73), Watson, Di Santo (McManaman 57), Boyce (captain for the night), Boselli, Fyvie (Gomez 57), Lopez, Figueroa.
Subs not used: Pollitt, Moses, Stam, Golobart, Redmond, Dicko.