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Celta de Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
30 October 2013
• Estadio de Balaídos, Vigo
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 26636
Celta de Vigo
A. Sánchez 9'
Yoel 48' (own goal)
So, Barca remain at the top of the league and maintain their unbeaten record under Tata Martino. That is it from me, Tom Webber, for tonight. Have a great evening.
FULL TIME - Celta 0-3 Barcelona: Two goals early in the second half ended the Celestes hopes of taking something from the game after an impressive first half display. The Blaugrana deserve credit for upping their game after the break and goals from Sanchez and Fabregas came either side of a Yoel own goal to give them all three points.
90' + 3'
The final whistle blows!
90' + 2'
Into the final minute of additional time now.
90' + 1'
WHAT A SAVE! Messi does superbly to spin Cabral and then shuffles away from Rafinha before lashing a left-footed effort at goal. It looks destined for the net but Yoel flings a hand to it and sends it behind for a corner.
Messi drops deep to pick up the ball and plays a one-two with Song. The Argentine is blocked off in his attempts to retrieve the return pass and the referee awards him a free kick.
Messi continues to try and do it all himself as he looks to dribble right through the heart of the Celta defence but comes unstuck at the final hurdle.
Wide from Tello! The young winger may have hoped for more minutes on the pitch tonight, and he certainly won't get many more opportunities to find the net in this appearance. He shanked that shot into the side netting when he ought to have done a bit better.
HOW HAS THAT STAYED OUT!! Awful defending from Barca as Celta bulldoze their way in from the left, with Charles then teeing up Santi Mina 10 yards out. The youngster strikes it first time but Montoya gets a vital block in to divert the shot behind for a corner.
STAT: Barcelona have been victorious in 14 of their previous 15 Liga outings.
MESSI!! So close! Barca catch Celta on the break but Messi decides to go alone rather than pick out Pedro in acres of space on the far side. He beats Cabral before cutting back onto his favoured left foot. His shot looks to be bending inside the far post but once more Yoel denies him with a solid save.
GOOD SAVE!! Messi beats Cabral to the ball just inside the final third and the carries possession into the area. He drills a low effort towards the near post but Yoel is in position to turn it around the post. The Argentine clearly wants to get himself a goal tonight.
That is an awful cross from Toni! The second-half substitute had time and space to get his delivery right but he hoofs it straight out of play behind the goal.
PEDRO HITS THE BAR! Once more it is Messi who picks the ball up in space and this time his pass out to Pedro is of a much higher quality. The winger knocks it past Cabral before hammering an effort on goal. It is always rising, though, and clips the bar and flies over.
The Celestes have allowed Messi far too much time and space consistently tonight and are fortunate that this time he sends Pedro too wide after racing towards goal.
Rafinha wins a free kick for Celta in a dangerous area but the resultant delivery is turned behind for a corner. The on-loan midfielder had a slow start but has really grown into the game and has since been very impressive. Possibly Celta's best player, in fact.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Fabregas makes way for the hosts now, but their is no respite for the Celta players as his replacement is Andres Iniesta!
That proves to be Nolito's last involvement in the game as he is replaced by Orellana. An average evening for the Spanish winger tonight.
OFF THE BAR!! Celta almost get one back! Nolito won a free kick after cutting across Alves 25 yards from goal and took on the set piece himself. He whipped it over the wall brilliantly, and although the power on it took it past Valdes he was denied a goal against his former club by the woodwork.
What a briliant pass from Fabregas, putting Sanchez through on goal with a ball over the top on the spin. The Chilean is beaten to it by Yoel, though, and the keeper kicks it out for a throw in.
Over the top! Mallo finally gets a good cross into the area and Charles attacks it well, however his header lacks any form of control or direction and completely misses the target.
Good sweeping from Puyol! The centre-back chases in behind Bartra, who had done enough to slow down Nolito inside the area, and clears the danger away once more.
Barca are playing much more like their usual selves now, knocking the ball about high up the pitch and putting together some lovely passing moves. You sense that there could yet be more goals in this game for them.
Celta just are not clicking as they did in the first half. The midfield are not linking to the forwards as quickly, or with as much crispness. Charles' movement seems to have slackened and he does not appear as eager to receive the ball.
Santiago Mina Lorenzo
Tata Martino could not have hoped for a better start to the second half. The crowd at Balaidos were silenced by those two goals and you get the feeling their search for their first win at home this season will not be ending this evening.
Celta think they should have a penalty as the ball hits Song's hand inside the area but the referee clearly believes it was unintentional as nothing is awarded. That, or he did not see it!
Assist Lionel Messi
Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOAAL! Fabregas makes it three! Celta are caught short at the back as Messi picks up possession just inside the half and drives at goal. He sucks the defenders into a central position and then rolls the ball out wide for Fabregas, who guides a cool finish past Yoel.
SAVED! Fernandez's cross from the right somehow dribbles all the way through to Charles at the back post and he manages to dig out an effort on goal. It lacks the power to beat Valdes though, and the keeper gets down to make the save.
That will surely crush the hosts, who had vastly improved in the latter stages of the second half and looked capable of finding a route back into this game. They still can, of course, but the confidence Barca will gain from that goal may prove too much for them.
Own Goal Yoel
GOOOOOAAAL!! Barca have their second! Some fantastic interplay between Messi, Alves and Song creates a chance for Fabregas to shoot from distance. He curls an effort towards the top corner which comes back off the bar but goes into the goal off the back of the despairing Yoel!
We are back underway for the final 45 minutes!
Welcome back! The teams are back out on the pitch at Balaidos and the second half will be upon us shortly.
HALF TIME - Celta 1-0 Barcelona: A pulsating first half comes to a close with Sanchez's goal the difference. The hosts have given a good account of themselves so far and have threatened Valdes, however they still look vulnerable to the counterattack. Surely more goals to come in the second half so be sure to stick around!
45' + 2'
The half-time whistle goes.
45' + 1'
Great movement from Messi as his darting run is picked out by Alves. He connects with the cross, yet he cannot get enough on it to direct it into the bottom corner.
GOOD SAVE!! Sanchez is caught in possession in his own half by Lopez and the midfielder closes in on goal. He shoots from 20 yards but puts his effort too close to Valdes who is able to hold onto the effort fairly comfortably.
STAT: The Blaugrana have kept a clean sheet in five of their previous six Liga matches on their travels.
What a time to slip! Rafinha spreads the ball out wide to Aurtenetxe and the left-back feeds Nolito inside the box. The winger faces up Puyol but loses his footing and gives possession back to the visitors.
Messi drops off the front and picks up the ball 25 yards from goal. He has time to look up but rather than shoot he fizzes a pass into Sanchez. He follows the ball but no return pass comes as the Chilean fails to bring it under control.
Messi swings the ball in from the left and it is a good delivery, but despite there being a host of bodies at the back post no one is able to connect with it!
Yellow Card Gustavo Daniel Cabral
Cabral is given a yellow card for scything Pedro down on the edge of the box on the near side. He was nowhere near the ball there.
Nolito is incensed at the referee's decision not to award him a free kick following a clumsy challenge from behind by Alves. He clearly felt the Brazilian won the ball but the replays prove that to be far from the truth.
The combination of Song and Busquets in midfield is certainly giving Fabregas more of a license to get forward and support the attackers. He has been rather bright so far this evening.
Yellow Card Augusto Fernández
This may be Celta's best spell in the game but they are now looking vulnerable to the counterattack. Aurtenetxe is not getting tight enough to the opposition player in possession on his flank, this time being Pedro, but fortunately for him his cross fails to find anyone at the back post.
What a take from Pedro! The winger traps the ball exquisitely just inside the area before rolling it to the overlapping Fabregas. He tries to pick out the bottom corner but his effort is blocked and Celta manage to clear the danger.
Yellow Card Cesc Fàbregas
Celta have the ball in the net but the referee rules it out! Valdes failed to claim a high cross into the box after a collision with Charles inside the area and Nolito diverts the ball into the net. However, the referee awards a free kick even though it was Bartra who pushed the Brazilian striker into his own keeper! Let off for the visitors there.
Rafinha goes close again! Barca fail to deal with a high cross into the box and the loose ball falls for the midfielder inside the area. He thumps an effort on goal which Valdes is unable to hold initially, but he manages to smother it at the second attempt.
RAFINHA! So close! The on-loan midfielder pounced on a loose ball 20 yards from goal and his drilled effort flashes just the wrong side of the post. What a moment that would have been!
Just wide! Messi turns Aurtenetxe inside and out but his attempt to pick out the far corner with his left foot drifts wide of the target. His effort lacked the bend to bring it back inside the far post.
GOOD STOP!! Charles peels off Bartra and receives a great pass to put him in on goal. He takes his shot quickly from a wide area but Valdes dives down to his right and holds onto the ball.
Celta are trying to reduce the amount of time they are allowing Barcelona on the ball when moving into their half now. The hosts had been guilty of affording them too much space during the opening stages.
OVER! Messi's effort takes a touch off the wall and sails behind for a corner. Yoel was scrambling across his goal anyway, though.
Yellow Card Rafinha
A rash challenge on Sanchez from Rafinha sees him go into the referee's book. A great opportunity for Messi to go for goal from here...
That is poor from Bartra! The young centre-back tries to do too much as he steps out from the back and gives possession away. Alex Lopez sends possession out to the left but once more Alves is on hand to halt the danger.
Celta break from the corner but Nolito is tackled brilliantly by Alves just outside the area. The Brazilian then somehow contrives to hand possession straight back to the hosts but they are once more unable to capitalise.
The Blaugrana win themselves a corner and Sanchez puts it into the box only to see Bartra make a real hash of his header at the near post. The visitors probe again and win another corner as Messi's shot goes behind following a deflection off of Aurtenetxe.
Rafinha gives possession away in the Barca half and the visitors instantly counter through Sanchez. The Chilean has Pedro up in support but his pass is a poor one and it sends the winger too wide. He, in turn, attempts to find Messi at the back post but his cross is too high for the diminutive Argentine.
Some more bright play from Nolito as he dribbles in from the left but his pass to Charles is wayward. Fortunately for the Brazilian a ricochet off of Bartra sees the ball land at his feet anyway but his shot is deflected behind for a corner.
STAT: Celta have failed to find the net in their last three home league matches and have not tasted victory in five.
GOOD SAVE!! Messi fails to get the better of Aurtenetxe as he comes inside from the left, but Pedro moves out there and stands a cross up at the back post for Sanchez. The Chilean gets his head to it from an acute angle but Yoel positions himself well to knock it away.
That could have been two! Fabregas plays a great ball in to Messi and the Argentine rounds Yoel, only to then see the assistant referee with his flag raised for offside. The Argentine looked to have been level with Aurtenetxe there, so a contentious decision.
The Blaugrana had just taken the sting out of the hosts' high-intensity start by playing the ball around calmly at the back. Luis Enrique will be disappointed to have seen his side's bright start evaporate so quickly.
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOOOOOAAL!! Sanchez gives Barcelona the lead! Cabral is caught on possession by Fabregas and the loose ball is fed straight into the midfielder by Pedro. His shot is saved by Yoel but he cannot stop Sanchez from following up for his sixth goal of the season.
Pedro is picked out on the left with a fantastic cross-field pass, but in his attempts to dribble past Mallo he runs the ball straight out of play for a goal kick.
Super stuff from Messi, picking up the ball wide on the right and carving his way in field before sliding a great pass up to Fabregas. The former Arsenal man is unable to continue in the same fashion, though, and is closed out by the Celta defence.
Messi gets the chance to run at the Celta defence for the first time this evening but his attempt to slide the ball out to Pedro is cut out by Mallo. Moments before the right-back had put an absolutely awful cross into the Barca box, so that somewhat makes up for that error.
That would have been special from Charles, but his backheel for Nolito is cut out by the Barcelona defence. The on-loan Benfica had done well to bulldoze his way forward and lay it off to his team-mate there.
Brilliant pressing from Celta! Fernandez hounds Adriano into a poor pass back to Valdes and the keeper then slices the ball out for a throw in as he is chased down himself. The crowd really enjoyed that.
An early confidence-booster for Nolito as he knocks the ball past Alves inside the Celta half and is brought to ground by the Brazilian. He will remember that when he gets in possession next time around!
We are underway in Vigo!
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch at Balaidos now, so kick off will be upon us shortly!
Barcelona have not lost to tonight's opponents in their last six meetings in all competitions. The last time they tasted defeated to the Galicians was in the 36th round of the 2003-04 Liga season. Borja Oubina is the sole survivor of that Celta side who inflicted a 1-0 defeat on a Blaugrana outfit including current Celestes boss Luis Enrique. That loss contributed to the Catalan giants surrendering the title to Rafa Benitez's Valencia.
Neymar drops to the bench tonight despite scoring in the Clasico victory over Real Madrid, while Alexis Sanchez, who scored the winner in that game, earns a spot in the starting XI. Alex Song and Pedro also come in for Andres Iniesta and Xavi with Cesc Fabregas dropping into midfield, while Marc Bartra and Carles Puyol form the central-defensive pairing tonight as Gerard Pique misses out due to injury.
The Celestes have a slight Barcelona flavour about themselves tonight. Coached by former Camp Nou icon Luis Enrique, former Blaugrana players Andreu Fontas and Nolito start while on-loan Rafinha also begins the game in the centre of midfield.
Barcelona bench: Pinto, Mascherano, Montoya, Iniesta, Xavi, Tello, Neymar.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Bartra, Puyol, Adriano; Song, Busquets, Fabregas; Sanchez, Messi, Pedro.
Celta bench: Orellana, Madinda, Rodriguez, Toni, Llorca, Mina, Costas.
Celta (4-3-3): Yoel; Mallo, Cabral, Fontas, Aurtenetxe; Lopez, Oubina, Rafinha; Fernandez, Charles, Nolito.
Tonight's hosts prepared for this game perfectly, securing an impressive 5-0 win away to Malaga at the weekend. Barcelona, meanwhile, fared rather well themselves, taking all three points against Real Madrid in El Clasico. Lets see who the coaches have chosen for tonight, though...
Hello and welcome to tonight's live commentary on the Liga meeting between Celta Vigo and Barcelona at Balaidos. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through all the action this evening.
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