Barcelona stumble as Celta claim Camp Nou draw
Premier League, Camp Nou - Barcelona 2 (Messi 22, L Suarez 62) Celta Vigo 2 (Aspas 20, Gomez 70)
Barcelona missed the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of La Liga as they stumbled to a 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo.
Iago Aspas opened the scoring for Celta just before the midpoint of the first half, but Barca were level within two minutes through Leo Messi.
Luis Suarez finished a smart move just after the hour mark to put the hosts in front, but Celta hit back with a precise finish from Maxi Gomez.
Messi missed a good headed chance to win the game for Barca, then fired a free-kick over with the last kick of the game; at the other end Pione Sisto brought an excellent save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
It was the first home game Barcelona have failed to win this season, and their second draw in a row.
Second-placed Valencia can reduce the margin at the top to two points on Sunday, while Real Madrid will try to close the gap behind Barca to six points later on Saturday.
Leo Messi celebrates scoring for Barcelona agaist Celta VigoGetty Images
Have Barca lost momentum? Consecutive draws with form teams Valencia and Celta is far from a disaster, but it does suggest Ernesto Valverde’s side have lost some momentum after five straight wins in La Liga. Had Messi’s ghost goal at Valencia counted in the 1-1 draw, Barcelona would have been eight points clear at the top of the league before the match with Celta even kicked off. Now, if Valencia win at 12th-placed Getafe, which they should, their lead will only be a narrow two points.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Iago Aspas (Celta): The 30-year-old simply loves playing against Barcelona; he has now scored four goals in his last four league appearances against the Catalonians. The forward easily broke the home side’s offside trap for the opener as he latched onto a through ball to set up Maxi Gomez whose shot was saved, but Aspas was in the right place to tap in from the rebound. Aspas was then at the centre of the equaliser as he raced clear of Samuel Umtiti – who pulled his hamstring giving chase – before beating Jordi Alba and setting up Gomez on a plate.
FC Barcelona Celta Vigo La LigaGetty Images
20’ - GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Celta. The visitors are ahead after a terrific move on the counter-attack! Wass releases Aspas after Pique steps up to try to play the offside trap, but the referee's flag stays down. Aspas unselfishly squares the ball to Gomez whose shot is brilliantly saved by Ter Stegen, but it falls into the path of Aspas who heads in from the rebound.
22’ - GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Celta. Their lead doesn't last long, not even two minutes in fact! Suarez and Paulinho combine, with the latter finding Messi unmarked in the penalty box and the Argentine slides the ball past Blanco.
30’ - POST! Quick and incisive football from the hosts, but still no breakthrough. Suarez controls a lovely ball comfortably at the back post but his venomous shot is parried by Blanco. The loose ball is taken up by Messi who smashes the outside of the post from a tight angle.
48’ - MISS! Paulinho is through one-on-one with Blanco and he rounds the goalkeeper! However, with an empty net to aim for he can only find the side-netting. It was a tight angle to be fair, though he still should have scored.
62’ - GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Celta. The hosts take the lead with a sublime move! Messi slides through Alba who cuts the ball back for Luis Suarez and he is left with a simple tap-in.
70’ – GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Celta. Aspas races past Umtiti on the flank who appears to pull up with a hamstring injury. He is left one-on-one with Alba and he also goes by him easily, before finding Maxi Gomez who slides the ball into the net.
85’ - SO CLOSE! Suarez tees up Denis Suarez for a shot which is deflected into the path of Messi who uses all his neck muscles to direct a header on goal, but it drifts inches wide of the post.
90+5 - LAST KICK! Messi has a chance to snatch the points with an inviting free-kick 26m out... his effort hits the wall and goes behind for a corner - but the ref blows for full-time!
- Lionel Messi has scored four goals and assisted four in his last three appearances against Celta at Camp Nou.
- Including the three previous La Liga seasons, Celta de Vigo have scored 12 goals against Barcelona, more than any other team.
- Jordi Alba has assisted 11 Luis Suárez goals for FC Barcelona in all competitions.