Celta Vigo looked poised to spoil Xavi’s Barcelona renewal a day prior, up 2-0 in the 81st minute.
But the Catalan side pulled off a miraculous comeback, scoring three goals in the span of 10 minutes, to beat Celta Vigo 3-2.
The visitors had less of the ball in the first half but looked the more threatening side. Celta finally pulled ahead in the 19th minute courtesy of Jørgen Strand Larsen with an assist by the American, Luca de la Torre.
Barcelona went into the half trailing by 1-0.
Xavi introduced Ronald Araújo and Lamine Yamal to star the second half.
Celta held their defensive shape well but cracks were beginning to show.
Ferran Torres had a clear opportunity to equalize only to see his shot sail wide of the post.
That miss came back to haunt Barcelona as Celta finally doubled their advantage when Iago Aspas delivered a superb final ball to Anastasios Douvikas. Celta were cutting through the Barcelona defense time and time again only to misplay that final pass or for one of the Barça defenders to make a last-ditch tackle.
Barcelona looked to be on their way to their first loss of the season.
In the 81st minute, the comeback was on.
João Félix dinked a ball to Robert Lewandowski who acrobatically flicked his shot past the goalkeeper, hitting the crossbar but still ending up in the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Lewandowski got his brace.
Raphinha spotted João Cancelo inside the area and gave him the ball. Cancelo went close to the byline before cutting back to Lewandowski near the penalty spot and the Pole equalized.
The momentum was clearly on the Catalans’ side.
Barcelona completed the comeback in the 89th minute as Gavi delivered an inch-perfect cross to the run of Cancelo who deftly struck his ball past the keeper, sending the stadium into pandemonium.
Barcelona rescued a win from what seemed, at first, like a loss and then a draw, which would have felt like a point gained rather than dropped given how the game had gone.
Instead, Xavi and his side pick up all 3 points to pull ahead of Girona (16 points) on goal differential and Real Madrid (15) and sit atop LaLiga table. Girona won its match against Mallorca Saturday, while Los Merengues play Sunday in the Madrid Derby, with Atlético Madrid the home side.
While Barça’s comeback is sure to be celebrated by the team, there is plenty to analyze with how Barcelona played. Rafa Benitez bested Xavi tactically and if it wasn’t for tired legs from the visitors, Celta could have, and probably should have, come out with the win.
But Barcelona will take it.
If there is anything that will dampen the win, it’s the injury to Frenkie de Jong who was forced off in the first half. Initial tests do not look promising with speculation he could be out until November. Further tests will be done to determine the extent of the injury and recovery time.
Barcelona won’t have long to celebrate as after three straight games at home, their next match is on the road as they travel to Mallorca on Tuesday.