Six years after their last visit, Barça left Balaidos slightly frustrated after it looked as if they would be taking home the three points, despite fielding a number of fringe players ahead of the PSG trip and coming back from a Celta opener, only for a late Oubiña goal to give the hosts a draw. Tello and Messi – who has now scored in every league game since the two met in the corresponding fixture at the Camp Nou – were on target for Barça and Abidal made a much awaited return on the bench.
Barça dominate Brave Celta
Celta bravely went toe to toe with Barça, who despite dominating possession found it hard early on to overcome the hosts’ pressure high up the pitch. That meant they looked to the left flank, where Cristian Tello’s pace was an early threat which gave the team a positive attacking option. With the Celta defence keeping a high line, the visitors probed from midfield, whilst Abel Resino’s side linked up well with their front men, who looked to play in the space between the Barça defence and midfield.
On 28 minutes Pinto made a great double save against his old team after a mistimed clearance from Piqué and the follow up from Oubiña. Barça came back and had a good shout for a penalty on Messi turned down before Tello hit a decent chance over the bar, but it was Celta who opened the scoring after Orellana beat the Barça back line and set up Isca on 38 minutes.
Messi-Tello link up
Playing with the captain’s armband, Leo Messi now took over and nearly equalised with a brilliant free kick which Varas did well to push aside and then the Argentinean slipped in Tello behind the Celta defence and the young Catalan made no mistake to bring the scores level just before the break.
Remarkable record and late frustration
Clearly up for the game, Messi again dominated in the second half, as Barça pushed forward, though they were unable to really trouble Varas, with Alexis failing to control the ball after a clever pass from Tello had put him through. Roura brought on Iniesta and Villa as Barça looked for the second, but it was the Tello-Messi axis that delivered, as the two swapped roles and Tello crossed from the left for Messi to fire home a perfect finish to set another remarkable record.
Celta were also without a number of key players, but they refused to give up and managed to hit back on 88 minutes, when Oubiña headed home at the far post to earn them a point and set up an exciting final few minutes.