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Three talking points from Celta Vigo 1-2 Barcelona | La Liga GW 25

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Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images

The curse of Municipal de Balaidos ended last night for Barcelona as they took home a 2-1 win from Celta Vigo’s fortress, albeit under controversial circumstances.

The Catalans took the initial lead on the night through a Robert Lewandowski strike late in the first half but were stunned by an Iago Aspas equaliser minutes after the break.

The team’s performance was far from convincing on the night, but they got the job done in the final minute of the game after some dramatic decisions.

Their win takes the team to 54 points, two points behind Girona and seven behind Real Madrid respectively. Both sides, however, have a game in hand to extend their leads once more.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Celta Vigo 1-2 Barcelona.

Stolen at the death

A major chunk of Barcelona’s goals this season have come in the dying minutes of games. The Catalans have largely relied on tiring oppositions to work their way through the defence, but they have seldom left it as late as last night.

Despite Barcelona’s dominance in possession, the game at Balaidos was well-balanced for the better. Xavi’s side created the sporadic chance through slow and patient buildup while Celta Vigo had equally as many chances purely relying on the break.

The Galicians’ equaliser immediately after the half-time break may have been lucky but was not undeserved. After the setback, Xavi’s men struggled to get into scoring positions for 40 minutes, playing out lifeless football with minimal verticality.

In the end, they walked away with three points only thanks to a last-minute penalty that arose almost anti-climactically. Lamine Yamal was taken down in the box in what might be the most clear penalty this season, but what followed was an absolute ruckus.

Robert Lewandowski stepped up to take the penalty in the 95th minute after a long delay, only to fire a tame shot that was saved.

The referee, however, demanded that the penalty be retaken as the keeper was off his line, and there was no stopping the pole the second time around.

Barcelona will take the three points no matter how they come, but it is clear that they were lucky to get away with the full reward.

Lewandowski’s sizeable improvement

Robert Lewandowski has always been one of those football players who manages to get on the scoresheet irrespective of the game situation. His lethal instincts in front of the goal have helped him reach the pinnacle of football, and more recently, the Pichichi trophy last season.

The 2023-24 campaign, however, has not been easy on the striker. Throughout the first half of the season, the Polish international struggled to make an impact on Barcelona’s games, both in terms of goal involvement and build-up play.

It is thus big news that Lewy appears to have found some sort of rhythm once again. His resurgence may be directly linked with his guilt after Xavi announced his departure or to do with Vitor Roque’s entry onto the scene, but it is certainly paying dividends to the Catalan club.

Finding his feet again. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Last night, arguably, was the striker’s best performance in recent months. He looked sharp on the ball, clear about his movements and did not hesitate to pull the trigger on time when offered the chance.

He opened the scoring for Xavi’s side in the final minute of the first half with a stunning strike from a distance that can only be described as a bullet of a shot.

He eventually completed his brace in the final minute of the second half, converting his second chance from the penalty spot.

The right way to enter Italy

Having conquered their Estadi Municipal de Balaidos, the focus in Catalonia now shifts to the UEFA Champions League which returns to action next week.

On Wednesday night, the Catalans take to the field against Napoli in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie. As a battle between two sides in jeopardy, it will be a fascinating clash but one that Xavi’s men would like to believe they are moderate favourites in.

With La Liga now almost out of hand, the UCL remains the only competition where Barcelona can make a strong showing and hope for a positive run. Needless to say, the European competition will take precedence in the team’s priority list, now more than ever.

With the first leg being in Naples, Barcelona will hope to take home an advantage, or at least return to Spain without chasing a deficit.

The win over Celta Vigo thus serves as an important precursor as it shifts the momentum back to the Blaugranas’ side and ensures that they enter Italy with a fresh headspace.

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