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Celta lose first leg of EL semi at home; Musacchio rumors continue

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A year ago we were playing in Liverpool.

Liverpool v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Celta Vigo lost 1-0 to Manchester United at home today in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal. Celta, to be honest, for most of the match looked like the club that lost to Villarreal twice and is currently 11th in the La Liga table. Manchester United dominated proceedings but needed a fine free-kick goal from Marcus Rashford to take a slim lead back to Old Trafford.

A year ago, of course, I was in Liverpool as Villarreal lost at Anfield, and my wife told me when I got back home how upset she was with the broadcast commentary, which praised Liverpool to the skies even before the match and played down Villarreal. (Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough that night to change anyone’s minds, but that’s another story). Same today, really, both in terms of broadcast commentary and performance. Celta really lack a creative midfielder now (bizarre, since that was a strength until recently) and rely too much on Iago Aspas. When he is not at his best, as today, they struggle.

Celta have won away in tough places this Europa league campaign, so can’t be counted out. Not sure Old Trafford will be as intimidating a place to play as Liverpool was last season for us, though. I still get chills—and thrills—thinking about the crowd singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” before the match started.

IN Villarreal-related news, the rumors that Mateo Musacchio will be going to Milan have continued to gain in volume—and in details. Mateo would be going to AC Milan for €18m plus variables, and that part of the deal is reportedly agreed upon. Milan and Musacchio’s agent are still negotiating terms of his personal deal though.

Normally I tend to discount Italian press reports, but since we know Milan has been after him, it’s probably likely. Villarreal did offer Mateo a contract extension but after eight years here, he probably feels as though a move is in order. Not saying that’s right (Milan are unlikely to be in Europe next season) but not saying it’s wrong either. If he does depart, Villarreal are going to need to splash out some money to replace him. We went for Alvaro to replace Bailly, which has not been too bad, but we will need a physical presence back there.