FC Barcelona were hoping to keep their title hopes alive on Sunday, but were stopped in their tracks by a fired up Celta Vigo. The Catalans ended their title hopes with a 2-1 loss at the Camp Nou in what could be Lionel Messi's final game at their famed home stadium.
The defeat meant that it is now only a battle between city rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid going into the final match day of the season. Barcelona will be very disappointed with the result considering the fact that they were more dangerous in the early stages of the match.
Celta keeper Ivan Villar was called into action against early efforts by Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele. However, he was no match against Messi, who scored the opening goal in the 27th minute from a scorching header.
Despite being a goal down, Celta did not waver and managed to equalise before the end of the first half. Santi Mina outsmarted both Gerard Pique and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to find the back of the net.
Pique had an opportunity to take the lead in the second half from a header off a Messi cross, but Ronald Araujo managed to deflect it over the bar. The second half became more tepid for Barcelona, and the visitors started to look more dangerous.
Barcelona tried to be more aggressive in their search for a winner but it only resulted in disaster as Clement Lenglet was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Mina. In the end, it was Mina who had the last laugh as he scored the winning goal from Augusto Solari's cross in the closing minutes of the match.
Barcelona is now out of the running in La Liga, and head coach Ronald Koeman feels the pressure after seeing how his team dropped so many crucial points in the past three weeks. However, it is worth noting that they won the Copa del Rey, and were fighting for the league title almost to the very end. It also remains to be seen if the results were enough to convince Messi that they have a competitive squad and it will be worthwhile for him to sign a contract renewal. Lionel Messi and Barcelona took on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid this weekend AFP / JOSE JORDAN