Barcelona’s La Liga title hopes were dented when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Celta Vigo at Estadio de Balaidos on Saturday afternoon.
Barcelona dropped more points in the race for the La Liga title as Celta Vigo came back from behind on two occasions to hold the reigning champions to a draw this weekend.
Luis Suarez scored his first goal since January to put Barcelona in front, pouncing on a sublime assist from captain Lionel Messi. Five minutes into the second half, Celta Vigo pulled the goal back, with Fedor Smolov finding the back of the net after being set up by Okay Yokuslu.
Barcelona managed to take the lead in the 67th minute once again through Suarez, who was once again teed up by Messi. And just when it looked like Quique Setien’s men would hold on for a win, Iago Aspas curled in a fine free-kick in the 88th minute to level things up.
Full Time. pic.twitter.com/gtWZzKKFc8
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 27, 2020
Celta could have won the game in the stoppage time, but Nolito’s scuffed effort was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the two teams ended up sharing the spoils. The result means Barcelona have a one-point lead over Real Madrid, who could go two points clear when they take on Espanyol on Sunday night. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars on the night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 8/10
A poor pass early on almost cost Barcelona, but ter Stegen recovered from that moment, making important saves from Aspas and Brais. Made a few more key stops, denying Nolito twice, including one in the stoppage time, rescuing a point for Barcelona. Not a lot he could have done for Celta’s first goal and was completely deceived by Aspas’ free-kick for the second.
Nelson Semedo: 6/10
Once again, the Portuguese got forward with intent and showed improvements in his understanding with Messi. But the end product was still found lacking on number of occasions. Nevertheless, another positive performance from Semedo in Sergi Roberto’s absence.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
Hit the woodwork with a headed effort early on. Was an assured presence at the back despite having to go up against Smolov and Aspas all by himself at times because of his partner’s suspect positioning. However, it was Pique who gave away the free-kick from which Aspas equalised, fouling Rafinha.
Samuel Umtiti: 4/10
Making his first start since March, the Frenchman just did not look up to it on Saturday. Positioning was suspect throughout the game and one such occasion when he pressed high up leaving spaces at the back led to Celta’s opener. Booked for landing an elbow on an opponent. Unlikely that he will start next time out.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Got up and down the left flank well throughout but lacked the usual incision that he brings to the table. An early booking meant he had to tread carefully for the rest of the game. Seemed to grow tired with time and was taken off by the manager late on.
Arturo Vidal: 6/10
No lacking of effort from the Chilean as he worked hard off the ball and helped out at the back immensely. However, he lacked any sort of impact in the attacking third, with his trademark late forward runs into the box missing throughout.
Ivan Rakitic: 6.5/10
Filling in for Sergio Busquets at the base of the midfield, the Croat looked comfortable in the role, making a number of recoveries and snuffing out danger. Covered well for his midfield partners whenever they ventured forward. However, a stray pass allowed Celta to capitalise and score their first goal, which docks a point for him.
Riqui Puig: 7.5/10
Riqui Puig ? Celta
86' Minutes played
61/66 (92%) Acc. passes
3 Long balls
2 Successful dribbles
6 Duels won
8 Times Possession lost pic.twitter.com/88s6bIlAET
— Ⓐ (@Barzaboy) June 27, 2020
Making his first league start of the season, the 20-year-old academy product impressed throughout his time on the pitch, showing great attacking intent. Always looked to play forward when in possession, either by finding teammates in advanced positions or carrying the ball into the last third himself. Another positive performance after his brilliant cameo last time out.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
The wait for his 700th career goal continues as Messi missed a couple of promising opportunities on the day. But, he left his mark on the game by assisting both of Suarez’s goals. The first one came via a superb free-kick, while the second came after he had won back possession from the opponent, before laying it on for his attack partner. However, Messi has now gone three games without a goal.
? CONNECTION: STRONG pic.twitter.com/Fsk4KGcm8y
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 27, 2020
Luis Suarez: 8/10
While Suarez is still not at peak fitness, he showed how dangerous he can be even while not being at his best on Saturday. The Uruguayan striker headed in Messi’s free-kick to score his first goal in over five months, before adding a second after the break with a good left-footed finish after spinning inside the penalty box.
Ansu Fati: 7/10
Preferred over the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite, the 17-year-old, who has been linked with Manchester United, was a breath of fresh air in the Barcelona attack. Always looking to run at opponents with pace, he livened things up each time he was on the ball. Linked up well with Alba and Puig on the left channel and created a few chances. Taken off after he seemingly ran out of gas.
Martin Braithwaite: 5/10
Sent on in place of Ansu Fati, the Dane struggled to get into the game. Booked.
Junior Firpo: N/A
Came on for Alba in the 81st minute. Made a couple of decent runs forward.
Antoine Griezmann: N/A
Replaced Suarez with less than ten minutes.
Arthur Melo: N/A
Late substitute for Riqui Puig.