Celta 3-3 Barça: A game of two halves

Celta 3-3 Barça: A game of two halves

A commanding 3-0 goal lead is not enough to secure a win at Balaídos, as the home side battle back and grab a late equaliser deep into injury time

The final game of Sergi Barjuan's short tenure at the helm of FC Barcelona ended in a draw when at half-time it had looked certain that he’d handing over to Xavi Hernández with a win.

Following a perfect first half in which the blaugrana amassed a comfortable 3-0 lead, Celta managed to find their way back into the game and ended up grabbing an equaliser in the seventh minute of injury time.

It was the first time Barça had failed to win a game in which they had been leading by three goals since losing 4-3 to Valencia in 1998.

Three-goal lead

The two dropped points are made all the more frustrating by the fact that Barça had totally bossed the game before the break. If the problem this season has been dominating games but not taking the chances, that was anything but the case in the first 45 minutes at Balaídos on Saturday afternoon.

Some clinical finishing (helped, to be fair, by some questionable defending from the home side) meant that the team went in for their half-break break with the three points looking more than secure.

The game had been just five minutes old when Ansu Fati collected the ball inside the box and delivered the perfect strike to stun Celta keeper Dituro – possibly perturbed by the ball taking a weird deflection on the way.

On eighteen minutes, Sergio Busquets doubled the lead. Gavi did some fine moves to create the chance and the captain stroked the ball into the bottom right corner with sublime class.

And there was still more to come when Jordi Alba made a trademark incursion up the right and Memphis was at hand to head in Barça goal number three.

Barça had treated us to one of the finest 45 minutes of football that we have seen from the team all season. Celta had put up very little resistance of their own, and the rest of the game looked like it was going to be a mere formality. How wrong we were.

Celta fight back

Even with a three-goal lead it hadn’t all been good news. New names were added to what is already a vastly troubling list of injuries at FC Barcelona. Ansu Fati left the field with a left hamstring injury and Eric Garcia also departed early with problems in his right leg. And to make matters worse, Nico González, who was having an outstanding game, had to come off in the second half.

And Celta were a totally different side after the interval.

Iago Aspas set a new record for goals against Ter Stegen, seven in total, to pull an opportunistic goal back for the home side. And both Galhardo (offside) and former Barça man Nolito (handball) both had goals disallowed.

Aspas does it again

Barça were no longer in the comfort zone and on 73 minutes, things really started to get troubling when Nolito fired in a diving header. Balaídos was buzzing. Celta had pulled two goals back and were hungering for more.

Although Frenkie de Jong put one onto the crossbar, it was now almost all about Celta and going into the final minutes Barça found themselves clinging on for dear life.

As Celta wasted their few remaining chances it looked like the Catalans were going make it to the finishing line with the full three points. But deep into injury time… That man Aspas once again...

In unison, the Barça players collapsed to the ground in frustration. How had they let those three points slip away?

Força Barça
Força Barça

Related to this article

Close article

Related to this article