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Barça lost their one hundred per cent record in the 2015/16 Liga season, and also their place at the top of the table, as Celta continued their extraordinary start to the campaign with a 4-1 defeat of the European champions. It was a disappointing night for the Catalans, but all credit has to go to Eduardo Berizzo and his side, who look set to be a force to reckon with this season.
The home side did not let take long to show why that is. They were in command for the first ten minutes, although the first big chances, for Leo Messi after 10 minutes and Neymar after 14, fell to Barça. Sergio Álvarez produced two fine saves, the first of many from a goalkeeper who had also worked wonders against FCB at the Camp Nou last November.
Celta hit double blow
But it was the light-blues who found the net first. Former Barça man Nolito collected the ball on the left of the area and placed an absolute peach of a shot in the top right hand corner, Ter Stegen’s fingers not quite getting enough of the ball to tip it away. Four minutes later and the Galicians were even further ahead. Iago Aspas pounced on a Barça error in the middle of the park and raced away on the counter attack, finishing his run with a cheeky chip to beat Ter Stegen and make it 2-0.
Balaídos was almost celebrating again when Sergi Gómez sent a close range left-footer only just over the bar, and then on 39 minutes Neymar had a golden opportunity to get the Catalans back in the game, but Augusto Fernandez blocked him just in time. And so the first half ended, with nothing going to plan for Barça, and Celta in a lead that they frankly deserved.
Aspas strikes again
The second half began with Aspas firing just wide, but it was then that Barça finally came to life. Gerard Piqué headed just over in between two fine chances for Messi, one of which hit the post while the other was saved by Álvarez. But just when Barça were at their most threatening, they were caught on the counter attack from a corner. For the second time in the game, Aspas charged free with only Ter Stegen to beat and Celta were three in front.
Moment of hope
Barça kept fighting, but time and time again they came up against an inspired Sergio Álvarez – Neymar and substitute Munir both being frustrated when they looked certain to score. In a pulsating encounter, Celta kept pressing too. Nolito came closest as they made every use of the spaces that Barça were forced to leave at the back.
With eleven minutes left, Barça finally found the net. A trademark assist from Messi was controlled beautifully by Neymar, who slipped the ball home with style. Moments later, Munir almost got Barça right back in contention, but any chance of a late comeback was ended when John Guidetti found himself alone in the area at the other end. The Swede smashed home the final nail in the coffin, and an altogether disappointing evening for Barça came to a bitter end.
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