UEFA Champions League 2016-17: Celtic 0-2 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points
The UEFA Champions League Group C game between Celtic and Barcelona at the Celtic Park on November 23 ended in a 0-2 defeat for the hosts and their exit from Europe for this season was confirmed. On the other hand, with Manchester City dropping points in their game against Borussia Monchengladbach, the victory for Barcelona ensured that the Catalans will finish the group as toppers irrespective of the results in the final round of group matches.
After a 7-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in Champions League this season, the focus was on how Brendan Rodgers will get his team to raise their game at their home ground and keep the MSN trio of Barcelona quiet. While the Hoops did put in an improved performance, it wasn’t enough as a Lionel Messi brace meant that the team was eliminated from Europe (with Gladbach confirming the Europa League spot).
We take a look at the talking points of the game:
#1 Messi breaks Celtic resistance with a sublime opening goal
Having conceded 7 goals in the reverse fixture at Camp Nou, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had mentioned before the game that he wanted a better game from his defence at Parkhead. Cheered on by the local fans, the Hoops started the game solidly and avoided conceding in the early minutes (unlike at Camp Nou, when Barcelona scored in the third minute to start the goal-fest).
But defending against the attack trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is always difficult for any opposition in the world, and the Celtic resistance was broken in the 24th minute when Neymar cleverly lobbed the ball from the left into the box to land perfectly for Messi to shoot with a first-time volley at the near post.
The goal was Barcelona’s 400th under Luis Enrique’s management in all competitions and quality of the assist by Neymar and finish by Messi ensured it was a worthy goal for the landmark.