Barcelona lifted their Balaidos curse tonight in emphatic fashion as the Catalans showed plenty of heart and grit to manage a crucial 3-0 victory on a rainy night against Celta Vigo. The Catalans played more than half the match with a numerical disadvantage but made up for it with plenty of courage and inventiveness on the pitch.
Clement Lenglet's red card in the first half was quickly consigned to the history books by Barcelona as two goals in the second half gave the Blaugrana their first win at the Balaidos in over five years. Ronald Koeman's work with this Barcelona squad was evident in today's game and the Dutch manager will be thrilled with his side's resilient performance.
Barcelona made their fans proud tonight
Barcelona started the game with a surprisingly high press as Ronald Koeman's intensity seeped through his Catalan charges. Ansu Fati continued his golden run in Barcelona's starting eleven with an exquisite opening goal to shock the home side.
Gerard Pique was lucky to stay on the pitch at half-time after the defender saw red for a last-ditch foul but his former teammate Denis Suarez was deemed offside. The first half ended in catastrophe for Barcelona as Clement Lenglet was shown a questionable red card for a high arm on Denis Suarez, whose runs behind the Barcelona back-line eventually bore fruition.
Barcelona showed plenty of heart in the second half and refused to let their numerical disadvantage dictate terms on the pitch. Lionel Messi stepped up to the plate minutes after half-time with a slaloming run and cross that resulted in a crucial goal for Barcelona.
The introduction of Nolito in the second half allowed Celta Vigo to seize control of the match but the home side was unable to take its chances against Barcelona. The Catalans added the icing on the cake with a late third goal and will be thrilled with this performance.
Celta Vigo Player Ratings
Ivan Villar - 5.5/10
Ivan Villar had a difficult time in Celta Vigo's goal and could have done better for all three of Barcelona's goals. The shot-stopper had an injury scare in the second half and was lucky to finish the game.
Joseph Aidoo - 6/10
Joseph Aidoo had to deal with Ansu Fati tonight and did not have the easiest of games. The defender was struggling towards the end of the first half and was replaced by Miguel Baeza as Celta Vigo looked to put pressure on a ten-man FC Barcelona.
Jeison Murillo - 6/10
Jeison Murillo struggled throughout the match and failed to cope with Barcelona's fluid movement at the edge of the penalty area. The centre-back had some particularly uncomfortable moments in the first half against Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi.
Lucas Olaza - 5.5/10
Lucas Olaza offered very little going forward and was tormented by Lionel Messi in the second half. The defender struggled to track the Barcelona captain and was unfortunate to concede the own goal.
Hugo Mallo - 6.5/10
Hugo Mallo was one of the few impressive Celta Vigo defenders on show tonight and had a few good moments in the first half. The Spaniard played as the third centre-back for most of the game and put in an assured performance.
Jose Fontan - 7/10
Jose Fontan had a bright debut on the flank for Celta Vigo and found himself in good attacking positions on several occasions. The youngster picked up a niggle 30 minutes into the game and was replaced by Nestor Araujo.
Renato Tapia - 5.5/10
Renato Tapia had a torrid time against Philippe Coutinho and struggled to cope with Barcelona's quick movement in the midfield. The Peruvian midfielder was taken off for Fran Beltran in the second half as Celta Vigo looked to attack Barcelona.
Gabri Veiga - 7/10
Gabri Veiga made his first start in the Spanish top-flight against Barcelona tonight and had an impressive first-half. The teenager was taken off for Nolito in the second half.
Denis Suarez - 6.5/10
The former Barcelona midfielder had some bright moments throughout the game and effectively ensured that his former side had to play the second half with ten men. Denis Suarez failed with his final product, however, and will have to improve as the season progresses.
Iago Aspas - 6/10
Celta Vigo's talismanic forward has been Barcelona's nightmare in recent years but failed to make much of an impact in this game. Iago Aspas grew into the game in the second half but failed to provide a cutting edge in the final third.
Emre Mor - 7/10
Emre Mor had several bright moments in the final third and also managed to nutmeg Barcelona defender Gerard Pique on one occasion in the second half. The Turkish youngster is supremely talented and could play an important role for Celta Vigo this season.
Nestor Araujo - 6/10
Nestor Araujo was brought on for Jose Fontan in the first half and struggled to deal with Barcelona's fluidity. The Mexican defender was constantly dragged out of position and did not have a positive outing.
Miguel Baeza - 6/10
Miguel Baeza arguably had Celta Vigo's best chance of the match but failed to hit the target from close range in the second half. The youngster was assured in possession and has a long way to go in La Liga.
Nolito - 7.5/10
Nolito provided a spark of creativity and was the Celta Vigo's best player in the second half as the home side tried to claw its way back into the match. The former Barcelona forward had several good moments on the ball and was unfortunate not to get on to the scoresheet.
Santi Mina - 6/10
Santi Mina was brought on to provide Celta Vigo with attacking impetus but failed to make an impact on the game.
Fran Beltran - 6/10
Fran Beltran replaced the struggling Renato Tapia in the second half and was booked for a cynical foul on Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Also Read: Top 10 attacking trios in football history