Barca Boss Valverde Hints At Resting Messi Vs Celta Vigo

Ernesto Valverde Barcelona

Xavi also claimed that Barcelona will be without a number of their key players for Tuesday's meeting against Celta Vigo in La Liga.

Barcelona reclaimed the lead in the 64th minute after Paulinho tapped home from close range, but they were reduced to ten men seven minutes later as Sergi Roberto - who had come on as a substitute 11 minutes earlier - pulled down Iago Aspas.

Should Iago Aspas start for Spain at the World Cup this summer? .

Barcelona - Ter Stegen 8, Semedo 7, Mina 5, Vermaelen 5, Digne 5, Coutinho 6, Gomes 5, Paulinho 7, Denis 5, Dembele 7, Alcacer 6.

The visitors bossed possession in the first half, but Celta had the better chances and should have gone into the break ahead.

Messi missed Argentina's pair of friendlies in the most recent global break, watching on as his team were demolished 6-1 by Spain at the Wanda Metropolitano, and Barcelona's sizeable lead in La Liga has allowed Valverde to consider managing his leading man's workload.

The point means Barca can guarantee lifting the title if they win their next games at Deportivo La Coruna and Real Madrid but they could wrap up a 25th Liga crown before then if Atletico Madrid lose their next two against Real Sociedad and Real Betis.

But Barcelona did nab the opener in the 36th minute as Philippe Coutinho pounced on a loose pass from the hosts before driving towards goal.

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It could have been worse for Barca but for a block from goalkeeper Marc ter Stegen, captaining for the first time, to deny Celta substitute Lucas Boye a dramatic late victor.

The home team managed to hit back on the stroke of half-time when Jonny was played through on goal and he made no mistake with just the keeper to beat, 1-1.

Celta Vigo made three changes with Facundo Roncaglia, Jozabed Sanchez and Maxi Gomez coming into the XI.

Ter Stegen could only parry Mor's low cross from the left against Aspas and the ball rolled across the line.

Ter Stegen redeemed himself with a smart block as Boye went through late on to help Barca preserve their unbeaten run.

Aspas has found his feet on his return to Celta Vigo after a tumultuous time at Liverpool.

He set off the move for Celta Vigo's first equaliser before scoring the second and although he may not have known much about it, his positioning shows how hungry he is for goals.


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