Match Analysis: Barcelona 0-1 Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo's players celebrate after scoring during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on November 1, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole dissects the action as Celta Vigo shock Barcelona 1-0 at the Camp Nou in La Liga.

A second-half strike from Joaquin Larrivey saw Celta Vigo beat Barcelona 1-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening.

The Catalan outfit hit the woodwork four times in the La Liga clash, in addition to creating a number of clear opportunities.

However, Larrivey's 55th-minute strike proved the difference at the Camp Nou as Barca suffered a second straight loss.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two Spanish rivals.

Match statistics

Barcelona
Shots: 19
On target: 9
Possession: 68%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 10

Celta
Shots: 10
On target: 4
Possession: 32%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 29

Was the result fair?

Barcelona should not have lost this match. The Catalan outfit could and probably should have been out of sight at the interval, with Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez all coming close, but a mixture of poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping from Sergio Alvarez kept the two sides on level terms. It was a similar story in the second period, with Barcelona rattling the woodwork twice more - four times in total - and creating a number of golden chances. Celta remained a threat on the counter, however, and it was Larrivey that showed the Barcelona forwards how to finish with an excellent strike into the bottom corner. As expected, the home side responded and indeed created enough chances to at least draw the match late on, but Alvarez continued to produce save after save. On another night, Barcelona would have won this match by three or four goals, but it proved 'one of those nights' for Luis Enrique's side, who have now suffered successive in the league after losing El Clasico last week.

Barcelona's performance

While the result is extremely disappointing, it is difficult to be too critical of Barcelona when reviewing their performance as a whole. They really should have been two or three goals ahead at the interval, but Messi and Neymar - both of whom have been in prolific form this season - just could not find a route into the back of the net. Suarez also had a positive home debut, but there was little from their midfield, with Rafinha and Ivan Rakitic both struggling to make their mark on the match.

Dani Alves and Jordi Alba had plenty of the ball in wide positions, but neither were particularly impressive in possession. Despite Barcelona's dominance, Celta were a threat throughout the 90 minutes and the home side's centre-back pairing of Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano did not look too comfortable. It just wasn't to be for the Catalan outfit, who looked so strong in the early part of the campaign. It will be interesting to see what kind of response this occurs from the former champions.

Celta's performance

Following a strong start to the season, questions had been asked just how far Celta could go this season. A top-four challenge perhaps? That notion was dismissed, but any side that can win at the Camp Nou must be taken seriously. The away side got their tactics spot on this evening, with Nolito and Larrivey occupying the Barcelona defence and Michael Krohn-Dehli given a licence to roam in the middle of the park. The plan worked perfectly, with Celta always carrying a threat each time that they had possession of the ball.

Gustavo Cabral and Sergi Gomez were also both excellent at the heart of the defence, but special praise must be reserved for their goalkeeper Alvarez, who just about had the perfect night. Many of the saves that the Spaniard made were extraordinary, with Suarez, Messi and Neymar all watching in disbelief each time that they were denied. The woodwork also saved Celta on four occasions, but their work rate and desire deserved them a slice of luck. Celta have lost just once in the league this season and more performances of this ilk will leave their supporters dreaming of European football.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Sergio Alvarez: This is not a difficult decision. Celta had a number of impressive performers this evening, but the star of the show was their goalkeeper Alvarez. Barcelona had nine attempts on target - all of which were clear opportunities - but Alvarez answered the call on each occasion. There have been many fine goalkeeping displays at the Camp Nou over the years, but this might top the lot. Celta's overall performance was strong, but they won the match because of their goalkeeper - it is as simple as that.

Biggest gaffe

Barcelona's defending for the Celta goal was extremely poor, with Alves and Mathieu both culpable before Nolito set up Larrivey to fire into the bottom corner. However, it is difficult to ignore Barcelona's finishing this evening. Arguably their worst miss came early in the second period when Neymar, who had been found by a low Alba cross, rattled his effort against the woodwork from close range. The Brazilian has been in excellent goalscoring form this season, but it just did not happen for the attacker this evening.

Referee performance

Inaki Bikandi had an impressive 90 minutes at the Camp Nou. The referee issued just the three yellow cards during the contest, which is a surprisingly low number for a La Liga contest. The fact that the match was so open was partly down to the referee, who was always prepared to let the play flow rather than bringing a halt to proceedings.

What next?

Barcelona: The Catalan outfit return to Champions League action away to Ajax on Wednesday, before travelling to Almeria in the league next Saturday.

Celta: Celta will attempt to continue their strong start to the La Liga season when they host Granada next Saturday evening.

Celta Vigo's players celebrate after scoring during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on November 1, 2014
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