Barcelona took on Celta Vigo in a seemingly lopsided La Liga matchup, but the contest proved closer than expected and the hosts sent the Catalan giants home with only a point from a 2-2 draw.
It is not all that surprising that Celta was the more motivated team in this fixture. Barça is cruising toward another La Liga title, while the hosts in this match were trying to fight off relegation.
Jordi Roura's side showed a lack of urgency in the first half, and this cost them in the 38th minute when Fabian Orellana rolled a ball through the center of the penalty area, and Natxo Insa tapped the ball passed Pinto and into the back of the net.
But the lead was short-lived, and just five minutes later, Celta's decision to keep a high line proved to be a mistake. Lionel Messi played a ball over the defense, and Cristian Tello ran onto it, then delivered a fantastic finish to equalize.
The score was tied 1-1 at halftime, but what happened next was inevitable. Messi received the ball in the center of the pitch in the 73rd minute, then played the ball out wide to Tello. The winger whipped the ball back into the box, and the Argentine superstar coolly finished to put his team in the lead.
A victory seemed to be in hand, but Orellana delivered a cross onto Borja Oubiña's head in the 88th minute for a shocking equalizer. Barcelona was shell-shocked after this goal, and the team left the field stunned with the result.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona: A
Messi was a constant threat to Celta's back line in this match, and the danger he posed helped to create space for Tello. Both goals started with the ball at his feet.
His extraordinary creativity and ruthless finishing ability are on display once again this season. It was another brilliant performance from the world's best player, although it did not lead to three points.
Borja Oubiña, Celta Vigo: B+
The key to playing competitively against Barcelona is not complicated. It takes effort, and a lot of it. Insa showed that in this match.
The deep-lying midfielder had plenty of defensive duties in this match, but he still found the late energy to make a run forward and get his head on a cross to score the game-tying goal.
Cristian Tello, Barcelona: A-
This wasn't the most cohesive performance from Barcelona, but individual brilliance was able to lead to two goals. Both Messi and Tello were able to torment the Celta back line when they had the ball at their feet.
Both goals were orchestrated entirely by these two players, and Tello's grade deserves to be only slightly lower than Messi's.
Fabian Orellana, Celta Vigo: A+
Orellana was by no means a constant threat in this game, but he was able to make two fantastic passes that led to two goals. Against Barcelona, this type of performance deserves the highest grade possible.
This was an incredibly unexpected result. If not for Orellana's ability to find players streaking toward goal, Celta would have had no chance in this match.
Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona: C
The Barcelona midfield was disappointing for the majority of the match. Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were all left out of the starting lineup, and the replacements did not perform up to par.
Fabregas faced higher expectations than Thiago Alcantara and Alex Song, and he failed to provide Barcelona with decisive and creative passes. If he had been sharper, the team likely would have taken full points from this fixture.
Barcelona will continue its Champions League campaign with a match against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, before returning to La Liga on Saturday when they take on Mallorca.
Celta Viga will take the pitch next on Sunday when they continue trying to stave off relegation with a match against Rayo Vallecano.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!