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Barça started the match on the front foot, ensuring that Celta had to work hard in the heat just to be able to gain possession of the ball. With 10 minutes of the game gone Marc-André ter Stegen had barely touched the ball, such was the blaugranes dominance.
Any chances were falling the way of the home side, with Antoine Griezmann going closest as Barça piled on the pressure. Though the Galicians were dogged in their defending, it appeared to be only a matter of time before Ronald Koeman’s side made the breakthrough.
Ousmane Dembélé was the next to extend Villar in the Celta goal on the quarter-hour, before Lionel Messi narrowly missed the goal from outside the area in the very next attack. The visitors could only get out of their own half sporadically, such was the incessant nature of Barça’s pressing of the ball. Having 72 percent of the ball after 25 minutes told its own story, though the hosts hadn’t managed to convert their control of the game into goals.
On 27, after again using the expanse of the Camp Nou pitch to its fullest, Messi rose to head home Sergio Busquets’ pin-point cross and hand the hosts a well-deserved lead. It would be his 30th league goal in another impressive campaign for him personally. An identical cross four minutes later almost saw Messi double the lead, as Barça continued to push hard to extend their advantage.
In their only attack of note in the half, Celta broke down the left side before Santi Mina was allowed time and space to fire home an equaliser with eight minutes to play until the break. The Galicians were more sprightly after half-time but the rhythm was still being dictated by Barça.
The introduction of Riqui Puig also gave Ronald Koeman’s side a bit more zip in midfield, and the youngster quickly made his presence felt. Another La Masia youngster was next to try his luck, Ilaix Moriba’s rising shot goalwards going just over.
On the hour, Ronald Araujo’s header went agonisingly over as the game became much more open with both sides attacking at every possible opportunity. Celta crowded their own area as often as they could to try and stem the tide, which meant that if Barça were going to get a second, their accuracy and inventiveness in the the pass was imperative.
Though they gave it everything in the final stages, a second goal just wouldn’t arrive. A hammer blow of a late goal from Mina meant that Barça were unable to go into the final weekend of the season with a shot at the title.
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