Madrid, April 18 (IANS) FC Barcelona edged a little closer to the Spanish La Liga title and maintained their unbeaten record, despite dropping two points with a 2-2 draw away to Celta Vigo.
Celta, who are coached by former Barca assistant boss, Juan Carlos Unzue, have avoided double defeat to the Liga Santander leaders this season, although Barca won’t be too disappointed with the result, reports Xinhua news agency.
With Saturday’s Cup final against Sevilla on the horizon, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made mojor changes to the side which beat Valencia on Saturday afternoon, leaving Leo Messi on the bench and Luis Suarez out of his squad.
The Barca starting 11 failed to contain one single player emerging from the Barca youth system, but the Catalans took the lead after 36 minutes when Ousmane Dembele scored a left foot shot from a pass by Paco Alcacer.
Celta equalised through Jonny Castro right on the stroke of half time, but midway through the second half Valverde introduced Messi and Sergi Roberto and the effect was almost immediate as Alcacer got a close range finish on an effort from Paulinho.
Roberto’s contribution was short lived as he was shown a direct red card for a professional foul on Celta’s Iago Aspas, who was the best player on the pitch, and although Aspas wasted a free kick, he equalised the score eight minutes from time.
Barca now need 6 points to be proclaimed this season’s champions, and that number will drop if Atletico Madrid fail to win away to Real Sociedad on Wednesday night.
Sevilla also played on Tuesday, but could only draw 0-0 away to Deportivo la Coruna in a game that was a lot more entertaining than the final score suggests.
The result does little to help Deportivo’s chances of avoiding relegation or Sevilla’s of assuring a top-seven finish.