Barcelona’s title hopes ended as Santi Mina fires Celta Vigo to Nou Camp victory

·2 min read

Santi Mina shattered Barcelona’s dwindling hopes of winning the LaLiga title as his brace for Celta Vigo condemned Lionel Messi and company to a 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp.

Messi briefly dragged Barca to within two points of leaders Atletico Madrid, who went on to beat Osasuna 2-1, but Santi’s brace created an insurmountable gap for Ronald Koeman’s men with just one league match remaining.

Furthermore, Real Madrid’s triumph at Athletic Bilbao leaves them as the only challengers to city rivals Atletico, with Barca now looking over their shoulders at fourth-placed Sevilla, who are two points behind.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi fired Barcelona ahead at the Nou Camp (Joan Monfort/AP)

Barca did look hungry from the off and Antoine Griezmann came close to scoring early on as he smashed Messi’s pass against visiting goalkeeper Ivan Villar.

In the 28th minute Messi, who had not long since volleyed over from a Griezmann lay-off, notched his 30th league goal of the season by heading Sergio Busquets’ cross from deep on the left beyond Villar.

The hosts’ lead lasted only 10 minutes thanks to Santi, who capitalised on Iago Aspas’ assist to find the back of the net from outside the box with what was Celta’s first shot of the game.

Barca next bared their teeth when teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba cracked an effort goalwards in the 54th minute only to watch it sail over the bar.

Messi walks past as Celta players celebrate
Messi walks past as Celta players celebrate (Joan Monfort/AP)

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen stopped Celta turning the game on its head by diving to keep out Denis Suarez’s superb low drive towards the bottom left corner, and with the final 15 minutes approaching, Barca suddenly looked troubled.

The dismissal of Clement Lenglet for a second yellow card six minutes from time meant they needed to find a winner with 10 men.

Messi and substitute Martin Braithwaite both took aim without success for the hosts and it was not to be their night – or their year – as, just before full-time, Santi arrowed home a shock winner from 18 yards out.

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