Iago Aspas' last gasp equaliser condemns Barcelona to a draw
Barcelona squander a 3-0 lead as Iago Aspas scores an equaliser in the SIXTH MINUTE of injury time in second half defensive horror show – after Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay had put them in control
- Barcelona let a 3-0 lead slip against Celta Vigo on Saturday afternoon
- Goals from Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis depay gave them a 3-0 lead
- Celta Vigo pulled two back through Iago Aspas and Nolito for a nervy finish
- Aspas scored again in the sixth minute of additional time to complete comeback
The ‘Xavi effect’ looked to have started early for Barcelona with their best first half of football this season against Celta Vigo… but they then lost three players through injury and conceded three goals to throw away two points with a second half defensive horror show.
Just under 48-hours before his presentation, Xavi will have been left in no doubt what he is about to inherit. This Barcelona still has a knockout punch when Fati is fit but without him they struggle, and they most definitely have a glass jaw at the other end of the pitch.
When Barcelona got the first goal of the 3-3 draw after five minutes it was only the second they had scored away from home all season. Fati ran on to a ball down the left and cut back inside Hugo Mallo before curling a right foot shot past Matias Dituro.
Ansu Fati’s superb strike gave Barcelona the lead just five minutes into the game on Saturday
Sergio Busquets scored a rare goal from the edge of the box to double his side’s lead
Celta Vigo (4-1-3-2): Dituro; Mallo (Vazquez, 45), Aidoo, Murillo (Araujo, 70), Javier Galán; Tapia (Cervi, 65), Suárez, Nolito, Solari (Beltran, 45), Galhardo, Aspas
Unused subs: Yokuslu, Blanco, Baeza, Fontan, Campos, Alvarez
Scorers: Aspas (52′, 90+6′) Nolito (74′)
Booked: Tapia, Solari, Aspas
Manager: Eduardo Coudet
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Mingueza, García (Araujo, 45), Lenglet, Alba; Nico (Puig Marti, 59), Busquets, De Jong; Gavi (Ezzalzouli, 80), Fati (Balde, 45), Depay
Unused Subs: Demir, Coutinho, De Jong, Umtiti, Sotorres, Carevic
Scorers: Fati (5′) Busquets (18′) Depay (34′)
Booked: Garcia, Alba, Ter Stegen, Busquets, de Jong, Ezzalzouli
Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
It took Fati to four goals from seven shots so far this season and it meant Barcelona led when they might so easily have already trailed. On three minutes a throw caught out Clement Lenglet and Iago Aspas had the game’s first chance but shot wide of Marc Andre ter Stegen’s goal.
Barcelona were 2-0 up after 18 minutes when Nico got down the left and crossed to Busquets. From the edge of the area his well-placed shot crept into the corner.
Barcelona had tripled their goals scored away from home tally and their captain had his first of the season.
They had not been two up away from home in the first 20 minutes of a game since April 2019. And on 35 minutes it was three. The very impressive Nico strided forward with the ball in midfield before playing out to Jordi Alba.
He crossed for Memphis Depay to head past Dituro. It was his sixth goal of the season and it looked game over ten minutes before half time, but things are never straightforward for this Barcelona and there was big trouble ahead.
First Fati hobbled off holding his left hamstring. Neither he, nor Eric Garcia, with a right calf problem, came out for the second half. Midfielder Nico also went off in the second period with a groin problem and before his departure Ter Stegen had spilled Javi Galan’s shot and Aspas had greedily accepted the gift to pull the game back to 3-1.
And with 16 minutes left it was 3-2 as Franco Cervi crossed from the left and Nolito found himself between Ronald Araujo and a disorientated Clement Lenglet from where he headed home.
Memphis Depay then scored a header after 34 minutes to put Barcelona 3-0
Iago Aspas (centre) pulled one back for Celta Vigo seven minutes into the second-half
Former Manchester City forward Nolito scored with a diving header with 16 minutes to go
All that would save Barcelona from being pegged back to level terms now was the home team running out of time. Lenglet looked increasingly nervous as Celta swept forward with ever more belief.
Frenkie de Jong hit the crossbar for Barcelona but they had still not closed the game down and Aspas fired past Ter Stegen to make it 3-3 with Celta’s last attack.
When Barcelona play again in two weeks they will face local rivals Espanyol and will probably be without the hamstrung Fati. They will have Xavi on the bench taking charge of first of his game but, at least at the start of his reign, that might not be enough. He’ll need patience. There will be more days like this one ahead, and Barcelona are still stranded mid-table with no wins away all season.
Aspas scored again in the sixth minute of additional time to complete an unlikely comeback
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