A late penalty lifts an insipid Barcelona over Celta Vigo

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including a late penalty, as Barcelona stole a win at Balaidos.
Celta Vigo v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports
Celta Vigo v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Playing away at Balaidos against Celta Vigo has historically not gone well for Barcelona. The match on Saturday was no different.

However, despite yet another poor performance, the Catalan side managed to come away with a 2-1 thanks to a brace from Robert Lewandowski, including a late penalty winner.

Heading into the match, Barcelona had only one once in their last nine meetings at Balaidos.

Lewandowski got the ball rolling in the 45th minute following a nifty run on the right from Lamine Yamal. The 16-year-old laid the ball to Lewandowski who still had to dodge and weave the defender before rifling a shot to the keeper's far post. It was a goal rarely seen from Lewandowski but one that gave Barcelona the lead.

But, as has been the case throughout this season, Barcelona switched off in the opening minutes of the second half. Some of that is because Ronald Araujo was taken off as a precaution.

Without the Uruguayan center-back, the defense looked lost and unorganized. Celta Vigo took advantage as Iago Aspas, completely unmarked, poked a ball towards goal that deflected off of Jules Kounde. Already midway through his dive, Marc-Andre ter Stegen could do nothing but watch the ball hit the back of the net.

The home side were the better team throughout the second half with Barcelona unable to find any answers. Celta were quick on the pressure and almost immediately recovered the ball as Barcelona couldn't maintain possession. They were unlucky to score a second.

When it looked like Barcelona were going to settle for another disappointing draw, Celta threw them a lifeline. Lamine Yamal was kicked by the defender who was unaware Yamal was going to make an attempt for a ball that hung in the air. It was a clumsy challenge but a penalty nonetheless.

Lewandowski stepped up to take it only to see his attempt saved by Vicente Guaita. But the penalty was retaken as Guaita stepped over the line before Lewandowski got his shot off. Guaita guessed right again but Lewandowski converted on his second attempt, ultimately giving Barcelona the win.

"I'm very happy for having won this important match, I was able to score the penalty the second time," Lewandowski said after the match.

Still, he knows Barcelona need to find a way to play better. Especially with the Champions League match against Napoli midweek.

"If we want to win games by 2-0 or 3-0 we must play better for 90 minutes. This is the first objective we must set. This week we have trained very hard, against Napoli we must play the 90 well both in attack and defense."

Attacking wise, Barcelona has been okay. Defensively it's where they've looked hopeless. A team aspiring to win a title cannot allow themselves to concede the goals Barcelona have conceded the entire season.


With more than half the season already done, it'll take a minor miracle for Xavi to right the ship in defense. The best he can hope for at this point is one that bends but doesn't break, starting in the Champions League against Napoli.