Sports

Barcelona squander 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Celta Vigo

Barcelona squander 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Celta Vigo

Barcelona squander 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Celta Vigo

Barcelona drew 3-3 at Celta Vigo in La Liga after leading 3-0 at half-time under caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan

Playing their final match under caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan before Xavi takes over as the club’s new full-time manager, Barcelona roared out to a 3-0 lead after playing one of their best halves of the season.

But injuries to Ansu Fati and Nico Gonzalez, who were having inspired performances, and the resurgence of Barca’s defensive doubts, helped Iago Aspas lead Celta back with a second-half brace.

Aspas capped the comeback with one of the final kicks of the match when he scored from long range, while Barcelona were hunkered down in their box begging for the final whistle.

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“We forgot we had to play the second half,” said a dejected Frenkie de Jong, who provided Barcelona’s only spark in the second half with a shot that hit the crossbar with the score at 3-2.

“We were too static, we need to show more character. This game was important to move up a bit in the table. It is a very hard blow.”

The draw came hours after Barcelona announced that Xavi had agreed to re-join the club until 2024. That will free Barjuan to return to coaching its reserve team after three games in charge following the firing of Ronald Koeman.

Xavi will be presented on Monday and then have a two-week international break to settle in before the former Barcelona midfielder debuts on November 20 against Espanyol in a derby. He arrived to Barcelona earlier on Saturday after ending his stint at Qatari club Al-Sadd, first as a player and then as a coach.

Fati had to be replaced after netting Barcelona’s opener. Midfielder Nico, who was also having a superb performance, and defender Eric Garca, both went down in the second half. They joined an injured list that already included Pedri, Gerard Pique, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Dest, Sergio Aguero and Martin Braithwaite.

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