Barça have defeated a daring Celta side to continue their unbeaten run in the league
The in-form Alexis, goalkeeper Yoel (og) and Cesc got the goals
31 out of 33. Barça stay top of the league after defeating a valiant Celta side at Balaídos. Even without players of the calibre of Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta and Neymar, Barça were fantastic right from the start, with Alexis finding the target once again to put his side into the lead. An own goal and another from Cesc eventually made it 3-0, which was a severe blow for Celta manager Luis Enrique and other familiar faces in Fontàs, Rafinha and Nolito, who had taken a daring approach to the game but were ultimately thwarted by a technically superior side.
Alexis continues form
Following the exertions of the clásico, Tata Martino decided to make changes to his eleven, the most significant being Alex Song getting to start instead of Busquets. Celta, meanwhile, pushed their defensive line right up the field and decided that they were going to try to dictate the game. They are to be admired for their ambition, but were punished for it. Barça made the most of their first real chance, after eight minutes. Cesc won the ball and threaded it through to put Pedro one-on-one with Yoel. The goalkeeper parried the shot away, but the Chilean was waiting to convert the rebound and continue his excellent goalscoring form.
Shortly after, Alexis almost made it two with a header at the far post, but Yoel just managed to get a foot in the way. Messi almost scored on 22 minutes following a trademark individual run, while for the home side, Rafinha delivered two powerful left-footed strikes, one that failed to find the target and the other brilliantly saved by Valdés, who was posting yet another top notch performance. The downside to the half was Adriano being substituted as a precautionary measure after taking a knock, his place being taken by Montoya.
A highly active Messi never stopped looking for a goal of his own. It was end to end stuff, with Barça uncharacteristically abandoning their possession game and employing a far more direct approach, thus meaning that their technical superiority was less apparent than usual.
Cesc makes his mark
This might not have been their greatest of performances, but we still saw plenty of effort and efficacy from FC Barcelona. After the break, for a while it looked like Celta might be able to get back into the game, but two killer blows from Cesc Fàbregas soon put paid to that. First a terrific long range strike hit the Celta bar but bounced off Yoel’s back and into the net. And just moments later, a quick transition led by Messi ended with Cesc rifling home the goal that made it 3-0 and as good as sentenced the match.
In just six minutes (from the 48th to the 54th), Barça had made sure of three points that had been in danger of slipping away. But the Galicians didn’t let their heads drop or change their gameplan to one of damage limitation. Nolito sent a free kick onto the bar, with Pedro responding soon after with a shot that skimmed just wide of the post. Bringing on Iniesta on the eleventh anniversary of his debut seemed to calm the storm, which was just what Barça needed. But despite the pace of the game slowing, Messi still went off in search of further goals, and would have got them had Yoel not been on such inspired form. Even in injury time, with the result more than decided, the Argentinian was still battling 100 per cent in a further example of his incredible fighting spirit.
The Chilean featured in his 100th official match with FC Barcelona this evening in Vigo
He’s scored a total of 32 goals and won 72 matches as a Blaugrana
Alexis Sánchez featured in his 100th official match in the FC Barcelona strip this evening. He arrives to this symbolic milestone in what is likely his best season as a Blaugrana. After signing for the Club in the summer of 2011, he’s claimed a total of six titles and scored 32 goals.
In this Tuesday’s match played in Vigo, Alexis scored the opener for Barça after only nine minutes, he was subbed out on the 83rd minute.
Teams from Madrid, his favourite victims
After taking a look at his 32 goals, it’s clear which teams are his favourite victims: Madrid-based teams. Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and Getafe, with three goals apiece, are the teams that the Chilean has scored against the most. It’s also worth noting that he’s scored once against Altético Madrid. Cobeño, Rayo’s keeper, is the only keeper to concede three goals to the Chilean.
Of these 32 goals, 13 of them served to give Barça the lead, while six saw the Blaugrana draw level, 12 to increase the team’s lead and only one to bring Barça closer to tying a match. 21 of them were scored at the Camp Nou, while 11 were scored on the road.
Encounters with Real Madrid
Alexis Sánchez’s career with Barça has been heavily linked to his performances against Real Madrid. He made his debut against Los Blancos in the away leg of the 2011 Spanish Super Cup, and it was against Madrid that he featured in his 50th official match for FC Barcelona – the 2-2 at the Camp Nou from last season. His latest match against Madrid took place on Saturday, when he scored one of his best goals in the Blaugrana strop.
His record after making 100 appearances for the team stands at 72 victories, 18 draws and 10 defeats.
The player had to abandon the pitch due to issues with his left thigh, he will undergo additional tests on Wednesday
Adriano was unable to complete tonight’s match against Celta due to issues with his left thigh. The Brazilian left back was subbed off for Montoya on the 31st minute in the first half. Manager Tata Martino decided to make the sub as a precaution, the player will undergo additional tests on Wednesday.
This evening’s match was Adriano’s tenth consecutive game, his ninth in the starting line-up.
Take a look at the Celta dressing room just hours before the match
Just a matter of hours before Celta v Barça kicks off, the visitor’s changing room is ready at Balaídos. The shirts belonging to the 19 players picked by Tata Martino are already in place for Tuesday night’s game, which gets under way at 22.00 and is being shown live on Canal+ Liga and GolT.
At 10.30, the Barça team’s flight departed for Vigo, where they are playing a league fixture this evening at 22.00
Barça have left for Vigo. Their plane took off this morning at 10.30, taking them to the Galician city of Vigo, where they face Celta this evening at 22.00. The club is being represented institutionally by directors Toni Freixa, Jordi Moix, Joan Bladé and Silvio Elías and the director of professional football Andoni Zubizarreta.
Once they arrive, the players will rest at Hotel Pazo Los Escudos until shortly before the match, when they will be transferred to Balaídos in good time for the 22.00 kick-off.
They will return to Barcelona on Wednesday morning on a flight from Vigo departing at 10.30. From Barcelona airport, they will be taken directly for a training session.