La Liga champions Barcelona were beaten on the final day of the season by a spirited Celta Vigo side who, with a win, secured their place in Spain’s top flight.
Celta’s hero on the night was 21-year-old Gabriel Veiga who bagged a brace to keep his club in La Liga for another season.
Inside the opening 10 minutes, league winners Barcelona thought they’d taken the lead through Frank Kessie. The midfielder pounced on a mis-hit strike from the edge of the box from Robert Lewandowski to fire emphatically into the top left corner of the net, however after a quick VAR check, he was adjudged to have done so from an offside position.
Kessie would come within a whisker of finding the opener once again just ten minutes later. This time the midfielder would steal in unmarked at the back post to head a sumptuous Lewandowski cross wide of the post.
Lewa came close to scoring himself prior to half-time too, curling a delightful effort off of the foot of the right post from the left flank.
Relegation-threatened Celta Vigo created some chances of their own in the first half too, one of which would fall to Oscar Rodriguez. The 24-year-old was found by a clever knock down from Luca de la Torre on the edge of the box, but could only drill his subsequent effort wide of the post.
The home side would then find the back of the net on the stroke of half-time through youngster Gabriel Veiga. The forward bagged his 10th La Liga goal of the season, drilling into the bottom right left corner of the net after being played through by Haris Seferovic.
A rather tepid second half sparked into life in the 65th minute through a rather bizarre second goal from Veiga. The 21-year-old saw his attempted cross from the right flank loop right over the head of Barca’s substitute goalkeeper Inaki Pena, off the post, and into the back of the net.
Barca would make Celta sweat for their La Liga safety late on, with substitutes Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati combining to make it 2-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Dembele cross the ball into the back post area to Fati, who headed home to make the final minutes rather nervy for the home side.
Celta were able to hold on for the last 10 minutes of ordinary time and six minutes of stoppage time to secure their place in the top flight.
GK – Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 5/10 – He’s enjoyed a stunning season but looked a lot shakier than usual on Sunday.
RB – Sergi Roberto – 5/10 – The Barca captain for the night didn’t get forward particularly well.
CB – Jules Kounde – 5/10 – Seferovic caused him problems on the night.
CB – Andreas Christensen – 4/10 – The Danish international didn’t look as assured without Ronald Araujo by his side.
LB – Marcos Alonso – 3/10 – Just nowhere near as good as Alejandro Balde. Nowhere near.
CM – Franck Kessie – 6/10 – Barca’s liveliest midfielder in the first half, scoring an offside goal inside the opening 10 minutes.
CM – Eric Garcia – 5/10 – Not a midfielder. Quickly dropped back into centre half at half-time, where he looked much more comfortable.
CM – Frenkie de Jong – 5/10 – Sloppier than usual on the ball and was dispossessed in the lead up to Celta Vigo’s opener.
RW – Raphinha – 4/10 – He did not do much of anything.
ST – Robert Lewandowski – 6/10 – Hit the post in the first half and then barely touched the ball in the second.
LW – Ferran Torres – 4/10 – You can see why Barcelona are probably going to sell Ferran Torres this summer.
Gavi – 6/10 – Battled hard in the middle of the park.
Inaki Pena – 3/10 – Came on and conceded a comical goal.
Pablo Torre – N/A.
Ansu Fati – 7/10 – His form has improved in recent weeks, and he continued to prove his worth with a goal off the bench on Sunday.
Ousmane Dembele – 6/10 – A stunning cross to set up Barca’s goal.
Manager – Xavi Hernandez – 5/10 – The decision to start Eric Garcia in midfield was fairly rogue, and his decision to start Ferran Torres instead of Ansu Fati also didn’t make a whole lot of sense either. His substitutions helped matters a bit in the second half as he righted a few tactical wrongs with them.