Despite facing intense opposition from Celta Vigo, Barcelona outguns the Celts 1-0 in a victory that Barca coach Luis Enriquez described as “marvelous”.
French defender Jeremy Mathieu proved to be the hero for Barcelona, sinking in the only goal of the match in the 75th minute, coming off from Xavi Hernandez’ free kick. The goal also served as a nice follow-up to Mathieu’s opening goal in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory against second-place Real Madrid two weeks ago. Madrid is currently just four points behind the Barcas in the La Liga standings.
However, it was no easy task to get the goal, as Celta put up an impressive de3fensive challenge, managing to block several of the Barcas’ attempts for a goal right from the opening. Forward Lionel Messi gave the Celts their biggest scare in the first half, getting past several of his defenders, but Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez was able to fend it off.
Come the second half, Messi was again denied of several goal attempts. However, Xavi, who was substituted late into the game, managed to save a dead ball and set it up for Mathieu’s goal in the 75th minute. Messi tried to sink in a second goal for the Barcas in the last minutes of the match but missed.
For their part, the Celts also had several attempts at the goal. Forward Joaquin Larrivey nearly gave them the lead in the first 10 minutes had it not been for the quick save by Barca goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Another attempt came courtesy of forward Nolito, but he also missed.
Coach Luis Enriquez gladly acknowledged the challenge put by Celta. “We were up against a team which were flying, that is why we could not control the game,” he said during the post–game interview. “These games strengthen you, there are games in which you have to work for it. These games against very tough opponents will prepare us for what is left to play. Winning is never bad, these are three marvelous points.”