BARCELONA: With most of their stars sold, Malaga needed a record-setting goal from 16-year-old Fabrice Olinga to win 1-0 at promoted Celta Vigo in the Spanish League on Saturday.
The Malaga youth player went on as a second-half substitute and moments after hitting the post he knocked in a rebound of a shot by Diego Bounanotte in the 84th minute. The goal made Olinga the youngest player to score in La Liga at 16 years, three months, six days. The Cameroon native also became the youngest player to play in the first division for Malaga.
Also, Tomer Hemed scored a double to give Mallorca a 2-1 win over Espanyol, and Sevilla beat Getafe 2-1 through first-half goals by Federico Fazio and Alvaro Negredo.
Celta had played better throughout the match, but lacked precision in front of goal in their first topflight match in six seasons. Enrique de Lucas grazed the post just before halftime and defender Gustavo Cabral hit the crossbar from close range in injury time.
“We were fortunate to win, but to let a draw slip in the last second would have been unfair also,” Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini said. Malaga’s Qatari owners have sold various players, including playmaker Santi Cazorla to Arsenal, in the preseason following a financial about-face after having invested heavily in the team the past two seasons.
The Costa del Sol club play Greek side Panathinaikos in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying playoff on Wednesday. “This team has been through some complicated moments, but they have helped it become stronger mentally,” Pellegrini said. “Now we have to think about the playoff against Panathinaikos and the Champions League.”
At the Iberostar stadium, Hemed opened the scoring two minutes in when the Israel striker controlled a cross, spun and fired into the lower corner of the net. New signing Wakaso Mubarak leveled for Espanyol four minutes later, but Hemed struck again in the 85th when he volleyed in the rebound of a curling strike by Michael Pereira that came off the corner of the woodwork.
Fazio scored with a header to give Sevilla the lead in the 34th, and Negredo stroked in hosts’ second goal from the penalty spot five minutes later after Getafe defender Juan Valera had fouled Juan Antonio Reyes in the area. Getafe defender Alexis Ruano halved the difference in the 51st, but Sevilla controlled the rest of the game to secure the win.