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Match Analysis: Celta Vigo 4-1 Barcelona

Sports Mole reflects on the action at Balaidos as Barcelona surrender their 100% start with a shock 4-1 defeat at Celta Vigo.

Celta Vigo subjected Barcelona to a demoralising 4-1 defeat at Balaidos tonight to end the treble winners' 100% start to the Primera Division season.

Superb goals from Nolito and Iago Aspas helped the hosts into a deserved 2-0 half-time lead, before another from Aspas after the break fattened the advantage.

Neymar finally pulled one back for the Catalans, who were denied by Sergio Alvarez on a host of occasions, before John Guidetti restored the three-goal lead.

Here, Sports Mole looks back on how Celta beat the treble winners.

Celta Vigo's forward Iago Aspas (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match Celta Vigo vs FC Barcelona at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on September 23, 2015© Getty Images

Match statistics

CELTA VIGO
Shots: 18
On target: 5
Possession: 44%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 18

BARCELONA
Shots: 18
On target: 7
Possession: 56%
Corners: 10
Fouls: 4

Was the result fair?

They only scored four, but it was still a five-star performance from Celta Vigo. They thoroughly deserved the victory. One look at the disparity in both teams' fouls committed statistic should illustrate how one side simply wanted it more than the other. Though the scoreline may arguably flatter Celta, who were bailed out by their superb goalkeeper at times in both halves, the result is certainly not up for debate.

Celta Vigo's performance

With 10 points from a possible 12, Celta Vigo promised to be no pushovers following an excellent start to the season - one that was almost made better within two minutes of kickoff tonight. A defensive mix-up from Barcelona saw Aspas with a golden opportunity but, instead of shooting on his stronger left foot, the former Liverpool forward drilled across the face of goal in the belief - or perhaps hope - that a blue shirt was there to poke home. Nobody was there, but it was a warning sign and one that the visitors failed to acknowledge.

If this was Nolito's audition for Barcelona, with whom he has been linked, then he passed with flying colours. With four goals under his belt coming into tonight's encounter, the Spaniard should have been a marked man, but right-back Dani Alves was nowhere to be seen when Nolito picked the ball up on the left-hand side before defying a hugely difficult angle by sending an inch-perfect effort beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the top corner. Shortly after, he forced Gerard Pique into an error before heading into the path of Aspas, who galloped some 40 yards toward goal and brilliantly clipped the ball over Ter Stegen. It was nothing less than Celta deserved.

Eleven minutes into the second half and it was three, with Aspas racing through on goal to finish beyond the German keeper. Again, there were major questions over the whereabouts of Barcelona's defence. At the other end, Alvarez, who pulled off good saves to keep out Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in the first half, had denied the latter moments before Aspas's second. From there, he found himself under siege and pulled off a truly world-class stop to keep out Neymar, who eventually beat him on the 80-minute mark, but Celta had the last laugh when Guidetti - who replaced Aspas - volleyed home a fourth afterwards.

Nolito, who faded somewhat after the break, missed a good chance for a fifth, but few Celta fans or staff would have cared. The job was done and it is a win that brings them top of La Liga for the time being. Still unbeaten, it is shaping up to be quite a season for Eduardo Berizzo and co.

Barcelona's performance

From as early as the second minute, Barcelona did not look like a team ready to make it five wins on the spin and extend their 100% start to the season. It was a sloppy error from Andres Iniesta of all people which led to a chance for the hosts early on, but it went begging. Individual mistakes were not limited to the midfielder, as Pique and Javier Mascherano both looked shaky in the middle of defence, and an error from the former saw Celta move two ahead.

None of this was in the script for Barca, or coach Luis Enrique on his return to the club that he previously coached. Their star-studded attacking trident of Messi, Suarez and Neymar only offered glimpses of their threat in the first half, with Messi and Suarez being denied by Alvarez.

They could, and should, have reduced the arrears early in the second half but Messi's volley was kept out by Alvarez once again. The biggest criticism that could come their way is that the Catalans looked like they only had 10 men in the second half, by the way in which Celta carved through them time and again. Their defensive line was criminally high and such risks directly led to two of the hosts' goals. After plenty of knocking, they eventually reduced the arrears, but the three-goal deficit was restored when the suspect Pique failed to clear a routine cross and Guidetti punished him.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Sergio Alvarez: The two obvious candidates would be Aspas or Nolito, but it has to be Alvarez. As poor as Barcelona were, they fashioned more than enough goalscoring opportunities to change the complexion of this encounter, but the Celta stopper denied them time and time again, with a second-half save to keep out Neymar, at 2-0, particularly important.

Biggest gaffe

Some would argue that Pique's error which led to the second goal was a reflection of his rustiness, having only returned from a four-game ban, while others may suggest that Nolito's guile forced the incident. Whatever the cause, what cannot be debated is that such an error should not happen to a player of Pique's standing.

Referee performance

Undiano Mallenco did not have a whole lot to contend with throughout and his performance will not be scrutinised by either manager.

What next?

Celta Vigo: Celta now travel to Eibar on Saturday night.

Barcelona: The treble winners host Liga new boys Las Palmas at Camp Nou on Saturday.

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Barcelona's defender Marc Bartra (hidden) celebrates with Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) and teammates after scoring during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 20
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Olympic medal table header
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JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
3Barcelona00000000
4CadizCadiz00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
6AlavesAlaves00000000
7ElcheElche00000000
8Espanyol00000000
9Getafe00000000
10Granada00000000
11Levante00000000
12Mallorca00000000
13Osasuna00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Real Sociedad00000000
18Sevilla00000000
19Valencia00000000
20Villarreal00000000

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