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Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembélé notched one goal each in the first half as FC Barcelona cruised to a 2–0 victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday night at Camp Nou.
The win will keep Barça in first place in La Liga until play resumes after the winter holidays on the first weekend in January.
Barça goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen picked up his fourth clean sheet in a row.
It was a welcome triumph for Barça, who were unable to beat Celta last season, drawing both matches, 2-2, versus the Galician outfit. Manager Ernesto Valverde stayed undefeated against Celta as a coach, running his career record against them to 11-5-0.
Dembélé opened the scoring in the 10th minute of play, beating Celta goalkeeper Rubén Blanco with a left-footed shot through the five-hole after a shot by Messi was saved. Fittingly, for Dembélé, it was his 10th goal of the season across all competitions.
Messi then doubled Barça’s lead in the 45th, taking a pass from Jordi Alba and squaring up a shot from out in front, on the edge of the 18-yard box, easily beating Blanco by using his right foot to effortlessly curl the ball and tuck it neatly inside the right post.
The goal was Messi’s league leading 15th of the season, and came just five days after he picked up his record fifth Golden Shoe, an award he is making a serious run for yet again. Messi also closes out the 2018 calendar year with 34 La Liga goals, more than any other player. And as a team, Barça finish the year with 102 league goals, more than any other side in the top five European domestic leagues.
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