Barcelona's title prospects take hit after Celta draw

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 29 Jun 2020

Barcelona's title hopes suffered a hammer blow on Saturday as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Celta Vigo, handing Real Madrid the chance to move two points clear at the top of La Liga.

Luis Suarez twice put his team in front at Balaidos with his first goals since January but Iago Aspas bent in a late free-kick to earn Celta a draw, in what could prove a pivotal moment in the title race.

Suarez played his best game since undergoing knee surgery in January, his first goal coming from a surprise free-kick from Lionel Messi.

Yet Barcelona's defensive frailties hurt them again and Celta should even have won it in injury time, only for Nolito to miss a golden chance at the back post.

Celta climb to 16th, eight points clear of the bottom three.

Antoine Griezmann was left on the bench and when he came on, he was on the side of the wall that Aspas breached with his free-kick to find the bottom corner.

Messi was at the heart of everything going forward and it was his early corner that Gerard Pique headed against the crossbar.

With a free kick on the edge of the area in the 20th minute and a 700th career goal in sight, Messi sized up the sprawl of Celta defenders in front of him.

But with everyone expecting a shot, Messi clipped a cross towards the post, where Suarez headed in.

Messi even tried to score from a corner but Celta had chances too on the break. A poor clearance from Marc-Andre ter Stegen went unpunished by Fedor Smolov, who then overhit his pass when Aspas was clear. Brais Mendez slid through and hit the post.

The warnings went unheeded and when Arturo Vidal played a careless pass early in the second half, Celta capitalised.

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