Barcelona coach Valverde defends selection for Celta Vigo draw

Lionel Messi

Aspas was heavily involved again moments later as he set up Nemanja Radoja, whose attempt from outside the box went straight to Ter Stegen, but the Celta ace finally struck eight minutes from time.

Valverde will purportedly make the biggest changes up front, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez tipped to rest.

Sergio Roberto was sent off for bringing down Aspas as he went through on goal, and Aspas scored the equaliser with his arm on 82 minutes after Marc Andre ter Stegen spilled the ball at his near post.

Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic were all left in Barcelona ahead of Saturday's Copa del Rey final against Sevilla.

Valverde chose to bring in Lionel Messi and Sergio Roberto as they started to lose their way with their unbeaten league run on the brink of being extinguished by the Balaidos club.

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The Barcelona boss labelled Celta Vigo as "important opponents" but also stated that he would be making changes to the lineup given that "we have a week of intense football and we have to manage the players".

As well as his late stop from Boye, he came to Barca's rescue on a number of other occasions, producing a brilliant one-handed save from Brais Mendez in the first half. Continued to make strong saves after the interval but will not be happy with his poor punch which bounced off Aspas and into the net. He was caught out on occasion but proved to be Barca's most able defender on the pitch. Alba is a confirmed starter due to Digne being still on the road to recovery.

Another milestone was set when French youngster, Osumane Dembele scored a attractive volley to open his La Liga goals account.

It will also be interesting to see if young French winger Ousmane Dembele, who conceded a penalty against Valencia on Saturday, will get a chance or whether someone like Denis Suarez or even Paco Alcacer could force their way into the side. It was his sloppy pass to Dembele that was robbed by Aspas and led to Celta's first equaliser. Slowed down a bit in the second half. Barcelona has yet to lose in league play this season but suffered a devastating Champions League loss to Roma on Tuesday that sent the club crashing out of the competition. The first half was especially open.

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