Barcelona drop two points as title challenge falters
GAME OVER! Celta Vigo fighting against the drop and they just won themselves a very, very valuable point.
Luis Suarez at the double for Barcelona as he gave them two leads. Smolov levelled the first time around and then Aspas sent a curling free, low and inside the front post, to level it the second time. 2-2 it ends at Balaidos and that might be the end of Barcelona's title challenge.
It goes down as a Ter Stegen save but that's a Nolito miss. Put on a plate for him and he sends it into Ter Stegen's gloves.
We will have five minutes of added time.
Aspas booked for taking his shirt off. Ah, we'll give him that one.
IT IS TROUBLE! BIG TROUBLE! Aspas curls it inside the near post and Ter Stegen is left planted to the spot.
Pique goes to ground against Rafinha and Celta have a free just outside the box. Could be trouble here for Barcelona.
Another foul by Braithwaite. VAR is going to look at this... let's see exactly what happened. He catch Kevin on the face again with an elbow. But referee seems to think it wasn't a yellow. He has given three yellows so far for hands to the face.
Yellow for Braithwaite as he catches Rodrigues with an elbow under the jaw.
Griezmann and Firpo on for Luis Suarez and Alba.
Jacobo Gonzalez off for Santi Mina.
Beautiful from Aspas and Nolito. Backheel by the former, shot by the latter. Save from Ter Stegen as he gets down and rejects it. That was close.
Back underway and Messi sends in a corner they had won prior to the water break. Cleared.
Another water break as Barcelona plot another couple of changes.
Oh, that is a nasty one. Kevin Rodrigues catches Riqui Puig in the thigh. Really sore one and a free for Barcelona. He gets up and limps it off.
Araujo off for Hugo Mallo.
Celta pushing for a leveller. Nice movement outside the box but they can't create a chance.
Braithwaite on for Ansu Fati.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Suarez is back. His second and he might just have saved Barcelona. Messi pokes it to him and he swivels before striking into the bottom corner.
Puig with a nice ball out to Ansu Fati. He takes it down beautifully and races forward. Nicked off his toe and out for a corner.
Griezmann warming up for Barcelona. Setién is going to have to make a move soon. No changes so far from the Barcelona bench.
Three changes for Celta. Nolito, Rafinha and Bradaric on for Brais, Okay and Smolov.
Pique playing in an attacking role now as he tries to race forward. Out for a goalkick that time though.
Messi curls one well wide in the end. It looks like it will be up to Messi now to pull them out of this one.
Now Umtiti gets himself booked for a hand to the face of Brais Mendez as they both jump for the ball.
VAR decides it's not a penalty but it looked like it probably should be one. Ref has a chat with the lads in the booth and says to play away...
Messi taken out at the back post Let's see if that's a penalty. VAR having a look at it.
Smolov GOAL! Rakitic with a risky pass and it's picked off by Brais. Okay with the assist as Smolov just sidefoots home.
Semedo cuts inside. He looks for a pass, looks for a pass, sees there is none and shoots with his left. He should have waited a little longer for a pass to open up.
First chance, kind of, for Celta. Ball pulled back to Aspas. He gets a toe to it but Umtiti slides in and gets the ball too. Aspas goes down and they give a half-hearted shout for a penalty. Fair from the Barça defender though.
We are back underway for the second half. No changes for either side.
There were calls for Puig to start and he has done well in that opening 45 minutes. Just two misplaced passes in 45 minutes and always looking to be a nuisance for Celta Vigo, sometimes succeeding.
Oh! Messi nearly scored from the corner. Blanco has to stop it by scrambling back onto his line.
Two minutes of added time at Balaidos. No real chances for a couple of minutes after a half that was filled with them. A good few for both sides.
Aspas doesn't know what to do. He's through on goal with Smolov beside him. He opts not to send it to him and Vidal is back to save the day. Out for a corner. Wasted chance!
Messi races forward and curls it over the bar. Unlike the Argentine.
Denis Suarez with a lovely move as he skips by three challenges (Vidal, Messi and Semedo left in his wake). Pass forward too heavy for Aspas as Ter Stegen comes out to clear.
Celta with some nice moves and some decent chances but a little rushed and too often they seem on different pages. Another ball sent forward as Aspas drops to collect it. He turned and shouts at the person sending it in that it was the wrong pass. Another effort earlier when Smolov missed a simple pass to Denis.
Nice move with Messi poking it into Ansu. He controls with his right, hits it with his left and then watches it as he lofts it into the stratosphere. He can't believe it. Not that he missed but that he missed by that much!
Brais grabs a little handful of Rakitic's jersey and gets himself booked. The Croatian was steaming through the middle.
Vidal tries his luck. Must be a magnet pulling the ball towards the left hand side because that goes the same was as Puig's effort earlier. That is to say, very very wide.
Rakitic tries to find Suarez over the top just before the water break. He can't.
Barcelona get control back of this one after a little wobble following their opener. Celta had three really good chances in a row.
Little Johnny woodwork to the rescue Barcelona. Suarez with a perfect pass to Brais and he clips it past Ter Stegen (hint of a save). Onto the post. So close to a leveller.
Celta with a chance. Ter Stegen fails to collect and Aspas gets fed by Brais. Blocked as he strikes. Their best chance of the game.
Messi with a ball straight through to Puig and he flicks it on to Vidal. Araujo catches him on the back of the calf and Barcelona have a very dangerous free.
Messi clips one into the path of Alba but he can't reach it before it goes out over the endline.
Brais sends a missle into the box seeking Aspas. Finds the crown of his head but he can only send it bouncing into the arms of Ter Stegen.
Cross into the back post that Brais has to put out for a corner. Semedo with a nice ping into the box that time. Corner taken and just about cleared by Celta.
Aspas breaks and feeds it to Suarez in the middle. His touch lets him down and he knows he's ruined a good chance. They're hard to come by against Barcelona and can't be wasted like that. The Aspas counter option is there with Alba moving forward when he can.
Alba jumps up into the face of Brais Mendez. Yellow card for the left-back. He might be lucky it's not worse than a yellow.
Puig with a shot after Celta do a pretty poor job of clearing it. A mile and a half wide.
Rakitic out to Messi. He cuts in and hits it. Blocked for another corner. Pique moves forward, looking to go even closer than he did last time.
Ansu with the break again for Barcelona and he can't do anything with it. Quite a lively start to this one. Celta not entirely comfortable and it looks like Barça will be able to get at them but one nice counter from Celta so far in response.
Celta break. It's their first chance to attack and Smolov gets it. He can't make an angle for himself on his left so turns onto his right. Blocked for a corner.
Corner comes in Pique greets it at the front post. Onto the crossbar and it's out for another corner. Celta under some pressure now.
Free for Barcelona out on the left as Messi stands over it. He sends it towards Piqué but Celta head it out for a corner.
Alba sends a cross in after receiving the ball from Puig. Cross is easily dealt with.
Ansu Fati races forward and Aidoo muscles him out of it. Very tame shout for a penalty but nothing doing.
Brais very close to Riqui Puig when Celta are defending. Unclear if he is man-marking him but could be.
GAME UNDERWAY! Barcelona playing left to right as we watch them. Celta, the other way, obviously.
And here we are. Messi and Aspas up for the coin toss.
The teams, well Celta at least, emerge on to the field and we are almost ready for action. Protocol says two teams can't emerge together so Barcelona will follow them afterwards.
Balaidos looking very empty this afternoon.
A look at the league table. Barcelona looking to move ahead of Real Madrid again, for now, and then they have Atlético at the Camp Nou on Tuesday. The next five days could decide the league title.
Arthur's mother has even weighed in on her son's future after Setien said the player is not the first to move to a big club and for it not to work out. "They are point out his defects now!" she said. We are living through strange times with football in the summer, no fans, and nothing planned for next season yet but this situation is particularly weird.
This is also very true. It's one thing coming on against tired legs and with nothing to lose. Puig has made the jump to starter this week and it will be interesting to see how he does.
Denis Suarez starts again for Celta Vigo. Still no room in the starting XI for Nolito but the option they now have off the bench make them that bit more dangerous. Rafinha on the bench too against his former club.
Griezmann rested again and Busquets missed out due to a suspension. That means Rakitic will step in as the deepest midfielder with Vidal the furthest forward and Puig working his magic in the middle of the park.
Barcelona fans can hear a symphony in their ears. That music is the sweet sound that is Riqui Puig's name being read out in the starting XI! They have been crying out for this and the little midfielder has impressed in cameos in recent weeks, inspiring more energy in the whole team when he came on against Athletic Club during the week. His chance has come.
- 1 Ter Stegen
- 2 Nelson Semedo
- 23 Umtiti
- 18 Alba
- 3 Piqué
- 22 Vidal
- 4 Rakitic
- 28 Ricard Puig
- 31 Ansu Fati
- 9 Luis Suárez
- 10 Messi
- 13 Rubén Blanco
- 18 Joseph Aidoo
- 16 Jorge
- 4 Néstor Araújo
- 20 Kevin Vázquez
- 29 Jacobo
- 5 Okay Yokuslu
- 6 Denis Suárez
- 23 Brais
- 9 Fedor Smolov
- 10 Aspas
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Rakitic, Vidal, Riqui Puig, Messi, Suarez, Ansu Fati.
Samuel Marsden of ESPNFC has reported the Arthur news. Here is Setién's response to a question about the situation in the pre-match press conference.
I wrote about Arthur Melo and his time at Barcelona and where it might have gone wrong. There are, of course, financial reasons for the move but the Brazilian never truly settled at the club and became the 'interior' they needed to replace Xavi.
The news ahead of the game, of course, is that Arthur Melo is off to Juventus. It's such a strange moment we are living in that the Brazilian is at the game and can play but will travel to Turin tonight or tomorrow morning to seal his move. Setién met with the player before the game to have a chat to him at what must be a very confusing time.
Barça at Balaídos
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Celta vs Barcelona. Two teams at different ends of the table but both with struggles of late! Kick-off is at 17:00 CEST and we will have teams news and build-up before that so stay tune!