Barcelona won their first away match of the 2020-21 La Liga season on Thursday, beating Celta Vigo 3-0.
It’s the first time since 2015 that the Catalan giants have run out winners at Balaidos in La Liga, but they had to do it the hard way after playing more than 45 minutes with 10 men.
Star man Ansu Fati continued his fine start to the season with the opening goal after 11 minutes, but the Catalan giants suffered a big blow just before half-time when Clement Lenglet saw red after picking up his second yellow card.
Yet Barca struck again at the start of the second half to seal the win. Lionel Messi’s effort took a deflection off Lucas Olaza and flew past goalkeeper Ivan Villar. Sergi Roberto then wrapped up the scoring in stoppage time to make it two wins out of two for Barca in 2020-21.
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Winner: Ansu Fati
Fati does not turn 18 until the end of the month but is now La Liga’s joint top scorer after netting his third goal of the season on Thursday. It was another superb effort from the talented teenager too:
GOOD AFTERNOON, ANSU FATI!
Wonderful finish from the 17-year-old puts @FCBarcelona up 1-0 over @RCCeltaEN #CeltaBarca
📺 – beIN SPORTS
💻📱 – beIN SPORTS CONNECT: https://t.co/LRYa03w6yI pic.twitter.com/B6KbFVULeW
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) October 1, 2020
Barcelona’s latest starlet has now scored 11 goals from 17 shots of target in La Liga, a quite extraordinary record. The youngster’s goal gave Barca the perfect start to the match and sent them on their way to a rare win at Balaidos.
Winner: Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho is back at Barcelona after a season-long loan with Bayern Munich and looks a different player to the one who struggled in his first spell with the Catalan giants.
The Brazilian put in a superb performance against Celta Vigo, rewarding manager Koeman for the faith he has shown in the Brazilian following his return to the club. He was also named man of the match.
Coutinho was adventurous with the ball, looked full of confidence and put in the type of performance that suggests he could be set for a key role at the Camp Nou this season.
Loser: Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann was in the starting XI once again but had another tough evening in a Barcelona shirt. A brilliant break from Gerard Pique and Frenkie de Jong set the Frenchman up for a clear chance on goal, but a poor touch inside the penalty area saw the opportunity go begging.
He didn’t last too much longer either at Balaidos. Lenglet’s sending off saw Koeman sacrifice Griezmann in favor of bringing in center-back Ronald Araujo to bolster his backline.
Koeman’s decision to take off Griezmann early rather than Philippe Coutinho or Ansu Fati spoke volumes but also was no surprise. The Frenchman has not lacked for effort at the start of the season but has rarely looked a threat.
Loser: Clement Lenglet
Clement Lenglet will be relieved his sending off did not cost Barcelona victory at Balaidos. The Frenchman’s red card left his team to play over half the game with 10-men.
Barcelona were already 1-0 ahead by the time Lenglet has been handed his marching order, and an early goal at the start of the second half put them in control of the match.
The visitors were able to see out the victory without Lenglet and will have to make do without the center-back again on Sunday. Lenglet’s former club Sevilla visit the Camp Nou next, but the 25-year-old’s red card means he will miss out through suspension.