FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo had a lot to play for this Wednesday at Camp Nou Stadium. After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, both teams needed to win in order to secure a spot in the next round of the Copa del Rey. Los Blaugranas and Los Celestes both played with full-strength sides, but Barca were unquestionably better. And they cruised their way to a massive 5-0 win, in what has been one of Barca’s best performances in recent years.
Two goals from Lionel Messi, and one each from Jordi Alba, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic were enough to see the league leaders go past Celta with absolute ease.
Barca’s dominant first half was enough to give them the win
Barcelona knew they needed to win after the draw in the first leg, and they looked positive right from the start. And that attitude would give the side immediate benefits, as they only needed 13 minutes to break the deadlock. A swifty run from Jordi Alba on the left flank allowed the defender to cross the ball into the box, and his pass found Messi. The Argentinian did a good job placing the bell past Sergio Alvarez, who stretched as best as he could but was not able to parry the ball away.
Celta looked dazed after the goal, and Barcelona took advantage of that. Messi and Alba once again combined, and managed to produce an even better goal than the first one. Messi dribbled around the middle of the pitch, found Alba on the left wing, and the Spain international combined on a one-two pass that allowed the Argentina star to coolly score again. In the blink of an eye, Barca got up 2-0. But they weren’t done.
Alba and Messi combined again for the third goal, but this time the tables turned. The Argentina star placed a lovely through ball towards Alba, and the defender defeated Sergio with a lovely shot from close range. It seemed the game was decided, but Suarez added a fourth with a blistering shot from close that went into the top corner of a helpless Sergio. And just like that, the first half ended with a commanding 4-0 advantage for Los Blaugranas.
The second half revealed the game was already decided
Celta tried to spark things up in the second half, and the manager sent Maxi Gomez and Nemanja Radoja to the pitch. Barcelona sent Thomas Vermaelen to give Gerard Pique some rest, as it seemed the game was already decided. In fact, Celta did not pose much of a threat overall, and that allowed Barca to rest other key players such as Messi and Andres Iniesta. Ousmane Dembele replaced Messi, and the former Dortmund star looked lively and active in the final third.
Celta did not register a single clear scoring chance during the entire second half. Even though Gomez and Mor combined nicely from time to time, they did not do enough to upset Barca’s defence. And Los Blaugranas had chances to add another goal, too. Arnaiz and Suarez came close to score, but both of their attempts went wide.
It seemed the game was set to end with a four-goal margin, but Los Blaugranas had other plans. Barcelona scored the fifth goal towards the end of the game, when a cross from Dembele found Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian playmaker nodded the ball home, giving Barca a huge 5-0 win that lifted the crowd from their seats to chant their heroes. Shortly after the game was over, and Barca sealed an impressive win at their home turf.
FC Barcelona certainly lived up to the expectations, and cruised their way to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals with a great effort that kept them alive in all three competitions.
As for Celta, the team looked tired and did not have answers for Barca’s impressive performance in the first half. Although Los Celestes looked quite tired, considering they also played against Barca last week, and Real Madrid this past weekend. Playing three straight times against the top teams in the world will certainly do that to any team, especially one that does not have a lot depth such as Celta.
FC Barcelona: Cillessen (6); Semedo (7), Pique (6) (Vermaelen (6), 46′), Mascherano (7), Jordi Alba (9); Andre Gomes (6), Rakitic (8), Sergio Busquets (7), Iniesta (6) (Arnaiz (6), 63′); Messi (9) (Dembele (7), 59′), Suarez (7)
Subs not used: Ter Stegen (GK), Sergi Roberto, Digne, Paulinho
Celta Vigo: Sergio Alvarez (4); Hugo Mallo (5), Sergi Gomez (5), Andreu Fontas (5), Jonny (6); Wass (5) (Radoja (6), 46′), Lobotka (5), Jozabed (5), Sisto (4) (Brais Mendez (5), 57′); Aspas (5) (Gomez (5), 46′), Emre Mor (5)
Subs not used: Blanco (GK), Cabral, Roncaglia, Hernandez
Goals: Messi (1-0, 13′), Messi (2-0, 15′), Jordi Alba (28′, 3-0), Suarez (4-0, 31′), Rakitic (5-0, 87′)
Referee: Alejandro Hernandez
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
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