Celtic vs. Barcelona: Score and Reaction from 2016 ICC

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 30, 2016

FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez, right, reacts after scoring with his teammate Lionel Messi against Atletico Madrid during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Associated Press

Barcelona began their pre-season tour of Europe with a 3-1 demolition of 2016 International Champions Cup opponents Celtic at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. 

Arda Turan and Munir El Haddadi netted for the Blaugrana, while Celtic's Efe Ambrose contributed a disastrous own goal. Leigh Griffiths bagged the only consolation goal for the Scottish champions.

Turan scored a superb opener for Barca on Saturday.
Turan scored a superb opener for Barca on Saturday.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both started, as Barca made a late beginning in their preparations for the 2016-17 campaign. Boss Luis Enrique's side dazzled en route to a convincing defeat of their Scottish opponents.

Barca needed just 11 minutes to open the scoring after Aleix Vidal took the ball down the right flank, ghosting inside his marker before cutting a welcoming ball to Turan on the edge of the area, via Sky Sports Football:

It seemed almost like fate that Turan and Vidal, two players who arrived during last year's transfer ban and whose places have been speculated as under threat, should link up to bag the first goal of pre-season:

Manager Brendan Rodgers' Celtic side didn't shy away from the challenge, though, and captain Scott Brown played a key role in mounting numerous charges downfield for the Bhoys as they went about staging a response.

A calamitous pair of mistakes next saw goals at both ends. Barcelona centre-back Jose Martinez first gifted Griffiths an equaliser following a heavy touch across goal:

Celtic stood level with the champions of Spain for mere moments, though, after Barca left-back Juan Camara diverted a cross past Ambrose's path, and the defender sent the ball past his own goalkeeper, Craig Gordon.

Ambrose's own-goal striker was particularly disappointing when taking into account no Barcelona players were in the area to pose much of a threat, failed interception or not.

And what once resembled a comeback from Celtic was seemingly squelched after Messi helped craft a thrilling third for the Spaniards.

The Argentinian floated a pass to Barca's left flank with Camara, and the ball found its way to Suarez, who unselfishly cut a pass inside to Munir. But it was the creator who grabbed the headlines, per Spanish daily Sport:

Celtic rung the changes at half-time and made seven substitutions before returning after the interval, and perhaps that contributed to a slightly more muted display for the remainder of the match.

The same could be said of Barcelona, who made five changes of their own before the 70-minute mark. With this only being a pre-season affair, the Blaugrana's possession-heavy style played well to their favour.

Denis Suarez impressed for Barca against Celtic.
Denis Suarez impressed for Barca against Celtic.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

One major positive for Barca was to see Suarez complete the 90 minutes, while Enrique could also take heart in the performances of newly re-signed Denis Suarez and Turan too.

The second period was a dull and languid affair at times, but despite the result, Celtic's supporters still made an almighty ruckus in the Irish capital, as shown by SportsJoe.ie:

Barcelona will now travel to the Swedish capital of Stockholm for a Wednesday meeting against Premier League champions Leicester City, where they'll hope to keep up their head of pre-season steam.

Celtic, on the other hand, have just a week remaining until they kick off their Scottish Premiership campaign against Hearts on Saturday. They'll hope for some inspiration from their second-half performance in Dublin.

    

Post-Match Reaction

Rodgers was humble in the wake of Saturday's 3-1 loss.
Rodgers was humble in the wake of Saturday's 3-1 loss.Jon Super/Associated Press

Celtic manager Rodgers was magnanimous in defeat after seeing their Spanish opponents soundly best his men soundly, choosing to take the loss as a learning curve, rather than a burden in the building process.

Per the club's official Twitter account, the former Liverpool chief was eager to use the result as a positive:

Meanwhile, Barca counterpart Enrique opted not to sound out individual performers in the wake of such a convincing win and instead focused on the team display:

Celtic also have the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Kazakh side Astana to look forward to on Wednesday, and Rodgers outlined the importance of the fans in the home-leg return, per the club.

The Bhoys chief also highlighted their "fast" and "direct" style as being some of their strengths, per the club, as he clearly expects the Kazakh contenders to offer a stern test after drawing the first leg 1-1.

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