Coming into the weekend, it seemed fairly obvious to the masses that Barcelona couldn’t afford to slip up against Celta Vigo. The big worry, given Vigo’s defensive record across their last few games, was that Barca would be unable to break them down at the back – but that wasn’t the story at all as a late equaliser handed the hosts a huge point against the reigning champions.
Barca were clearly confident as they came flying out of the blocks in this one, but it did take until the 20th minute for them to take the lead. It was veteran forward Luis Suarez who edged them ahead after a nice header following Lionel Messi’s free kick, confirming what we all knew: the little wizard is still the best player in world football.
They carried their advantage over into the second half, but after just a few minutes, Fedor Smolov had made it 1-1 off the back of a nice pass from Okay Yokuslu. Barca ensured they didn’t wait too long before retaking the lead in the 67th minute, and it was the same combination once again as Suarez scored thanks to a Messi assist as the Argentine continues to wait for his 700th career goal.
A big blow
The one-goal lead was a tenuous one for Barcelona, and in the dying minutes of the game, they were made to pay for not extending their advantage as Iago Aspas’ low free-kick made it 2-2. Then, in the final seconds of the game, Nolito’s close range effort was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen in what should’ve been the winning moment for Vigo.
The door has now been left open for Real Madrid to go two points clear of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table when they play Espanyol tomorrow. Barca themselves, on the other hand, don’t have long to lick their wounds as they prepare to host Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
Celta Vigo, on the other hand, will continue to try and push away from the relegation battle as they travel to play Mallorca.
Celta Vigo: Blanco (6), Saenz (6), Araujo (7), Aidoo (6.5), Gonzalez (6.5), Suarez (8), Yokuslu (7.5), Mendez (6.5), Vazquez (6.5), Aspas (7.5), Smolov (7), Mina (6.5), Nolito (6), Bradaric (6.5), Murillo (6.5), Rafinha (6.5)
Barcelona: ter Stegen (6.5), Semedo (6), Pique (7), Umtiti (6), Alba (6.5), Vidal (6.5), Rakitic (7.5), Puig (6.5), Messi (9), Suarez (8.5), Fati (6.5), Firpo (6), Griezmann (6), Braithwaite (6), Arthur (6)
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
Goals: Smolov, Aspas :: Suarez x2
Yellow Cards: Araujo, Mendez, Aspas, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Braithwaite
Red Cards: N/A