BARCELONA – Celta Vigo handed Barcelona on Saturday its second consecutive La Liga draw and the first at Camp Nou stadium in the 14th round of the Spanish first division league.
This time, Argentine star Lionel Messi was not enough for Barcelona, which played a good match but came up short against a rival that seized on the few chances it had to draw 2-2.
Just 50 seconds into the game, Celta Vigo lost its central defender Sergi Gomez, whose shoulder was dislocated after vying with Luis Suarez for the ball.
Gomez had been sidelined during the previous two matches due to injury.
Messi got the chance to put Barcelona on the scoreboard six minutes into the game, but Brais Mendez prevented him from firing, sending the ball into a corner.
In the 20th minute, Barcelona’s French defender Samuel Umtiti lost the ball in the midfield, opening the door for Celta to take the lead.
Celta’s Iago Aspas led the counterattack, sending the ball to Maxi Gomez inside the area.
Barcelona’s German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved Gomez’s attempt, but the deflected ball reached Aspas, who found the back of the net.
Just two minutes later, Messi, who shone in these moments, drew level for Barça after a collective effort.
Messi was on fire, making a clever pass to his Uruguayan teammate Luis Suarez, who put it home in the 27th minute only to see it disallowed for off-side.
Barcelona’s attempts continued with Messi firing into the post in the 31st minute and an inaccurate shot from Suarez.
In the last minutes of the first half, Barça’s Ivan Rakitic passed the ball to Paulinho, who fired, but goalkeeper Ruben Blanco saved it.
The Catalan club played the second half with the same mentality, seeking the lead.
Again, Paulinho squandered a scoring chance three minutes into the second half, when he fired wide.
Barça dominated the second half, taking the lead in the 62nd minute, when Jordi Alba played a cross that Suarez headed home. Blanco barely saved a header from Messi one minute later.
Celta, however, drew level thanks to a counterattack led again by Aspas, who surpassed Umtiti, playing the ball to Maxi Gomez, who found the back of the net in the 70th minute. Umtiti was injured during the match.
Barça squandered scoring chances during the next minutes, and had to settle for its third league draw this season.
With the result, Barcelona reached 36 points, extending its lead over second-placed Valencia to five points. Valencia is scheduled to face Getafe on Sunday in the same round.