Celta Vigo's European clashes against Premier League sides

They face Manchester United in the Europa League semi finals

BY Raf Diallo 16:02 Thursday 4 May 2017, 16:02 4 May 2017

Arsenal's Robert Pires (hidden) scores the third goal. Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

For much of their history, Galician club Celta Vigo have been in Spain's top division.

Of the nearly 90 seasons since the foundation of La Liga, Celta have spent more than 50 of those in the top division.

But if you look at their trophy cabinet, it's rather empty.

Yes they've won the Segunda Division before but they have lost all three Copa del Rey deciders they've contested and the only bit of recognisable silverware in all their history is the old UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2000, along with Udinese and Stuttgart - thus not even a unique tournament achievement.

Yet over the next couple of weeks, they are within touching distance of a first major European final, although Jose Mourinho's Manchester United provide stiff opposition.

They have faced previously faced Premier League opposition in Europe on numerous occasions over the past two decades.

Liverpool Captain Robbie Fowler tries to take the ball from Rafael Berges with this strong tackle in their UEFA Cup Match at Anfield.  John Giles/PA Archive/PA Images

In the 1998-99 UEFA Cup, Aston Villa were drawn against Celta in the second round and the now Championship side won out 1-0 in the away leg thanks to a Julian Joachim goal after a quarter hour.

But Villa Park would stage a setback for the home side as Celta roared back in the second leg with a 3-1 win which set up a third round tie against Liverpool.

The Reds would lose home and away against their Galician opponents, with Celta winning 3-1 in Balaidos before finishing the job 1-0 at Anfield two weeks later on December 8th 1998. 

Three Ireland internationals started that second leg with Steve Staunton, Jason McAteer and Phil Babb all involved, alongside other household names drawn from the youth ranks like Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and the more experienced Robbie Fowler who was captain for the night.

Celta would be reunited with Aston Villa en route to winning the Intertoto Cup the following season as the La Liga side won home and away to set up a 3-1 aggregate victory

A few years later in the 2003-04 season, Celta made their Champions League debuts and managed to advance all the way to the last 16 where Arsene Wenger's soon to be Invincible Arsenal side stood in their way.

The first leg in Spain proved exciting as the Gunners were given a test as Arsenal edged a five goal thriller 3-2 with a double from Edu (Celta also had an Edu on their own team who also found the net) and a Robert Pires winner securing their first win in Spain from seven attempts. 

And Wenger's side finished the job in the second leg with a 3-0 win at Highbury, although they would go on to be knocked out by Chelsea in the following round. Still, Arsenal would complete an Invincible season in the Premier League.

Three seasons later is the last time Celta Vigo took on Premier League opposition after being drawn in a UEFA Cup group with Newcastle United.

It was Newcastle who would triumph 2-1 at St James' Park en route to topping the group with Antoine Sibierski and Steven Taylor's goals cancelling an early opener from  Fabian Canobbio.




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