Record breaking Barca beat Celta
MADRID (AFP) –
Barcelona beat Celta Vigo 3-1 to set a new club record start to the season and go eleven points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid, who play later against Zaragoza.
Adriano Correia put the Catalan side ahead after 21 minutes and while Mario Bermejo momentarily brought Celta level minutes later, David Villa quickly restored the lead while Jordi Alba secured the win in the second half.
Barca have now nine wins and a draw so far which beats the previous best start by Louis van Gaal’s 1997-98 side.
Ahead of the game Lionel Messi showed off his Golden Boot trophy which he was presented this week after scoring 73 goals last season, while he was also the focus following the birth of his first child Thiago on Friday.
The pressure is on Madrid, who are only now finding their form after a poor start to the campaign.
Barca were still without Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol at centre half and this time Sergio Busquets was chosen to play alongside Javier Mascherano so they lacked a holding midfielder with Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in the middle. In attack, Villa’s rich vein of form earned him a starting place.
Celta are a side which likes to pass the ball around but they found themselves penned in while Barca probed looking for an opening and as so often at the Camp Nou it seemed simply a question of when they would get the breakthrough.
Iniesta fired over from 20 yards and Barca were finding space behind the full-backs with Villa on the left in particular.
Messi had the first clear chance after 18 minutes which keeper Javi Varas was equal to and the open nature of the game was shown as immediately the ball went to the other end, where Iago Aspas was denied by Victor Valdes.
Adriano Correia, joining the attack, put Barca ahead. Pedro Rodriguez got in front of full-back Roberto Iago on the right and crossed for the Brazilian to knock the ball home from close range.
The celebrations had barely finished though before Celta were level. The Barca defence was split wide open by a pass for Alex Lopez who exposed Busquets lack of pace and, although Valdes saved his shot, Bermejo was on hand to slot in the rebound.
Barca restored their advantage with a delightful move as Villa back-heeled the ball to Iniesta who got to the deadball line and pulled it back for Villa once again to score.
Messi selfishly went on his own and was crowded out when he could have set up Villa and the first half ended on a bad note for Barca with Adriano going off injured.
Right after the restart Aspas had a shot which went inches wide from a tight angle but Alba increased Barca’s lead after 60 minutes. Villa flicked on an Iniesta pass to the full-back who did well to round the keeper and finish but replays showed he was clearly off-side.
Earlier, Malaga crashed 2-1 at home against an attack-minded Rayo Vallecano with a double from Francisco Medina ‘Piti’.
It was only the second defeat of the season for the Andalusian side, who started the season so well but have now picked up one point from the last two games.
Martin Demichelis headed them level after half time but the team lacked spark going forward and Piti, who had swept in the opener after eleven minutes, fired the winner on the hour mark from the edge of the area.