Suarez 7/10 but Barca lose ground in title race with draw at Celta Vigo

Iago Aspas struck late on as Barcelona's title hopes were further dented on Saturday as they twice surrendered the lead to draw 2-2 with Celta Vigo at Balaidos.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the first half with his first goal since knee surgery in January as Barca looked to move three points clear of Real Madrid, who play Espanyol on Sunday. Fyodor Smolov cancelled out Suarez's goal after the break, but the Uruguayan looked to have sealed the win when he struck for the second time in the 67th minute. Barca were unable to close out the game, though, and Aspas' 88th minute free kick meant they dropped points on Madrid for the second time in three games.


Suarez's goals were his first since the league resumed and Barca will take solace in having someone who can help take the load off of Lionel Messi's back as they continue to fight for a third title in as many years.

Riqui Puig, making his first start in La Liga this season, also showed promise in midfield.


Barca looked good in the first half, but the open nature of the game after the break condemned them and could have huge consequences at the top of the table. Quique Setien's side move one point clear of Madrid, but Zinedine Zidane's men can open up a two-point lead if they win at Espanyol on Sunday. They also boast the superior head-to-head record if the teams finish level. Barca were two points clear when the league restarted.

Balaidos has not been a happy hunting ground for Barca. Their winless run there now stretches back to 2015, and their form on the road overall this season remains a cause for concern. They have picked up just 23 points from a possible 48 away from Camp Nou.

Next up? Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Setien looked to have got his team selection right, with youngsters Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati helping freshen things up. But his substitutions were unable to help Barca take control of the game late on and the Celta equaliser became inevitable.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc ter Stegen, 8 -- One stray pass almost led to a Celta goal early on, but he more than made up for that, with impressive saves from Brais Mendez and twice from Nolito. The second one from Nolito came in stoppage time and ensured a draw didn't become a loss.

DF Nelson Semedo, 6 -- Made some intelligent runs and was often found by Messi. Still lacking a bit of quality on the final third but a good display.

DF Gerard Pique, 6 -- Headed a Messi corner on to the bar in the sixth minute but was isolated at the back, with Umtiti's positioning questionable at times.

DF Samuel Umtiti, 4 -- In no-man's land for the first Celta goal and looked completely out of sorts as he made his first start since March.

DF Jordi Alba, 6 -- Made a superb block to deny Celta a certain goal after Suarez had edged Barca ahead. Worked well with Ansu in attack.

MF Ivan Rakitic, 6 -- Will be blamed for the first Celta goal because his poor pass led to the move. But he did OK other than that, filling in for Sergio Busquets as the deepest midfielder.

MF Arturo Vidal, 6 -- Worked hard but has lost that knack he has shown for breaking into box to score important goals in recent weeks.

MF Riqui Puig, 6 -- Did enough to keep his place in the midfield on his first La Liga start of the campaign. Always looks to move forward with the ball and knows when to hold it and when to use one or two touches.

FW Lionel Messi, 7 -- Set up both goals and was a constant source of creativity for Barcelona. He may be worried about his shooting at the moment, though, with his scoreless run now stretching three games despite half-chances falling his way.

FW Luis Suarez, 7 -- A typical Suarez performance. He wasn't pretty to watch at times, but he provided two key moments to take his tally of goals in the league this season to 13.

FW Ansu Fati, 6 -- Another encouraging performance from the 17-year-old. Was keen to take players on, something which can't be said for many Barca players. His best chance was deflected over after good work from Messi.


FW Martin Braithwaite, 5 -- Replaced Ansu but never really got into the game.

FW Antoine Griezmann, NR -- Came on late on for Suarez to witness Celta's second comeback.

DF Junior Firpo, NR -- Made a couple of decent runs forward despite only coming on for the final few minutes.

MF Arthur Melo, NR -- A late introduction in place of Riqui Puig.