Barcelona showed new head coach Xavi both their good and bad side in their 3-3 away draw over Celta Vigo, racing into a 3-0 first half lead but throwing it away in the second.
The returning Barça legend only arrived back in the country a few hours earlier and so won’t take charge of his first game until after the international break – the city derby against Espanyol – but there was a visible initial lift in the performance all the same.
Ansu Fati needed only five minutes to give Barça the lead on the Galician coast. The teenager cut inside from a tight angle on the left side of the penalty area and fired a fierce effort across the goal into the far corner of the net.
Sergio Busquets then doubled that lead with his first Barça goal in almost two years when he curled in a measured effort from the edge of the box.
The third goal seemed to have put the game out of reach for Celta. It came from Jordi Alba’s burst forward down the left in the 34th minute and his cross gave him a second assist of the game when Memphis Depay rose unmarked to head the ball into the net.
Celta were much better after the interval and had the ball in the net five times in the second half in total. It could have been far worse for Barcelona but only three of them actually counted.
One was ruled out for offside, while Nolito had a strike chalked off over a handball. But Iago Aspas initially pulled one back for the hosts and Nolito made it 3-2 to set up a nervy final 20 minutes. Celta even felt they should have had a penalty at one stage.
Repelling attack after attack, Barça looked like they had done enough to take the win and all three points, but in stoppage time they finally cracked and Aspas emerged as Celta’s hero when he swept home a stunner to equalise in the 95th minute.
Barcelona player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Marc Andre ter Stegen (GK) - 5/10 - Should have done better with the initial shot when Celta pulled one back.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) - 4/10 - Not his natural position and it still shows. Could have also conceded a penalty on another day.
Eric Garcia (CB) - 5/10 - Substituted at half-time after an early yellow card.
Clement Lenglet (CB) - 5/10 - Ought to have been more commanding when Celta got their second. Too much on the back foot.
Jordi Alba (LB) - 7/10 - Led by example, got forward well and was rewarded with two assists. Most of the Celta danger came from the other side.
Nico (CM) - 6/10 - On the receiving end of a few heavy challenges during his hour on the pitch. Rarely gave the ball away.
Sergio Busquets (CM) - 6/10 - Doubled the lead in the early stages of the first half with his first goal since February 2020.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) - 6/10 - Saw plenty of the ball, rarely gave it away and won it back on a few occasions as well. Looked broken by the equaliser.
Gavi (RW) - 5/10 - Didn't make the kind of impact he would have hoped for.
Memphis Depay (ST) - 6/10 - Played like a true 'number nine' by getting his head on a cross from Alba to make it 3-0.
Ansu Fati (LW) - 7/10 - Showed again why he is the great hope for the future but a reported muscle injury saw him come off at half-time.
Ronald Araujo (CB) - 6/10 - Celta grew in confidence which made his task hard. Made a particularly crucial block at 3-2, but it was in vain.
Alejandro Balde (LW) - 4/10 - Given the second half to impress after replacing Fati at the interval. Struggled to make his presence felt.
Riqui Puig (CM) - 6/10 - Had the energy to burst forward from midfield.
Abde Ezzalzouli (RW) - 6/10 - Impressed in only a few minutes.