Celta Vigo 4-3 Barcelona: Luis Enrique's side falter again in La Liga title race as Catalan giants suffer second defeat of season
- Pione Sisto put Celta Vigo 1-0 ahead in the 22nd minute against Barcelona on Sunday night
- Former Liverpool midfielder Iago Aspas then put the hosts 2-0 up with a left footed shot
- Just two minutes later, Barcelona's Jeremy Mathieu scored an own-goal
- Gerard Pique pulled a goal back in the 58th minute before Neymar scored one from the penalty spot
- However, Pablo Hernandez sealed the victory for the home side in the 77th minute
- Pique scored his second of the game for Barcelona with three minutes of normal time remaining
Three goals in 11 minutes in the first half helped Celta Vigo edge a seven-goal thriller over Barcelona, with the visitors losing their chance to go top of La Liga.
The Catalans’ performance was riddled with errors but it made for a fascinating game and one in which they almost came back from 3-0 down.
Gerard Pique scored twice in the second half and Neymar got the other as the Spanish champions nearly turned things around, but Celta’s first half onslaught helped them take the three points from Balaidos.
Gerard Pique ensured there a nervy finale for the home supporters after scoring his second of the game in the 87th minute
Pablo Hernandez scored Celta Vigo's fourth goal of the game to give the hosts a two-goal lead again
The home supporters were treated to a seven-goal thriller on Sunday night as their side edged past the Catalan giants
Brazilian forward Neymar pulled another goal back for Barcelona from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 on the night
Celta Vigo: Alvarez 6.5, Mallo 5, Gomez 6, Cabral 6, Roncaglia 6.5, Radoja 6, Wass 7 (Jonny 83, 6), Sisto 7.5, Hernandez 8, Bondoga 7 (Diaz 63, 6), Aspas 9 (Guidetti 88, 6).
Goals: Sisto 22, Aspas 31, Mathieu og 33, Hernandez 77.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen 3, Sergi Roberto 4.5, Pique 7, Mathieu 5.5, Alba 6 (Alcacer 81, 6), Busquets 4 (D Suarez 76, 7.5), Gomes 6.5, Rafinha 5 (Iniesta 46, 8.5), Arda Turan 7, L Suarez 4.5, Neymar 6.5.
Booked: Busquets, Pique, L Suarez.
Goals: Pique 58, 87, Neymar 64 pen.
Referee: Inaki Vicandi Garrido.
Luis Enrique rotated again, like he did in the defeat by Alaves—a mistake in retrospect, with Celta running riot against Rafinha and Andre Gomes, who replaced usual midfielders Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic.
Barcelona actually started the game well, with Neymar hauled down on the edge of the box in the opening exchanges, with his free-kick smashed into the wall.
Jeremy Mathieu fired over after a neat dribble, while some fantastic interplay between Rafinha, Arda Turan and Luis Suarez ended with the Uruguayan forward firing a low strike at Sergio Alvarez.
And then the tide turned with some lethal Celta Vigo counter attacks that slashed Barcelona to ribbons.
Phone Sisto opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and by the 33rd his team were three up, after Iago Aspas doubled their lead before Mathieu put through his own net to end a bizarre spell—but not an unprecedented one.
Barcelona came to Balaidos little over a year ago in La Liga and were crushed 4-1 in a similar night to this, although that was inspired by Nolito, now of Manchester City.
But Eduardo Berizzo is a clever coach and even without the flying forward he has created a team that also troubled Real Madrid earlier this season.
Liverpool reject Aspas has become a key player in Galicia and his speed terrified Barcelona here.
However, the first goal was of Barcelona’s own making. A slack pass by Marc-Andre ter Stegen paired with Sergio Busquets’ poor piece of control saw Celta win the ball back and shuffle it forward quickly to Sisto, who drilled the ball under the German to open the scoring.
It was similar to the goal Barcelona conceded in midweek, with the ball being given away cheaply in midfield and the team paying a high price.
A few minutes later it was two. Suarez was denied in the Celta box and they broke quickly, with Busquets missing a header in midfield and Aspas racing onto the ball. He skinned Pique and slammed a shot into the far corner.
With Barcelona rocking Celta took full advantage, with a low raking cross from the right destined for Aspas forcing Mathieu to intervene. Unfortunately for Barcelona he only managed to steer the ball into his own goal.
On came Iniesta at half-time for his 600th Barcelona appearance. A fine milestone but one found in the middle of a sticky mess. But Mr Solutions started to clean things up.
It was his neat ball that Gerard Pique headed home to start Barcelona’s comeback, and another stunning pass for Andre Gomes that led to Barcelona’s second.
Defender Pique headed in Barcelona's first goal against Celta Vigo in the 58th minute of the match
Celta Vigo players celebrate their second goal of the evening as Barcelona's Neymar looks dejected
Former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas put the hosts 2-0 up in the 31st minute with a left footed shot
The Portuguese midfielder went down in the box under pressure from Hugo Mallo, who grabbed his shirt, and referee Inaki Vicandi Garrido pointed to the penalty spot. Neymar took it without fuss, rolling it into the bottom left corner and setting up a thrilling final 25 minutes.
Neymar wanted another penalty when he was dragged back in the area, but this referee was not as forthcoming on this occasion.
But as Barcelona pushed for the equaliser, another Ter Stegen mistake set them back again. The goalkeeper’s nonchalant attempt at a chipped pass rocketed back off Pablo Hernandez’s face and into his net, with the Chilean midfielder hounding him down.
Still Luis Enrique’s team didn’t give up, with Pique heading home his second of the game after substitute Denis Suarez stood up the ball at the back post.
Neymar flashed a header wide before Pique did the same, with the centre-back coming inches away from scoring a hat-trick of headers.
That would have been an achievement for the ages but this game will go down in history as a true La Liga classic.
It was a tough night for Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, who saw his side fall to a disappointing 4-3 defeat
Pione Sisto celebrates scoring the hosts first goal of the La Liga match against Barcelona on Sunday
Celta Vigo's Gustavo Cabral attempts to challenge Barcelona's Luis Suarez during the first half of the fixture
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