Lionel Messi had to get creative on Saturday against Celta Vigo in La Liga to tee up Luis Suarez for Barcelona’s opening goal.
The Argentina international has been lethal with free-kicks this season which has led to teams defending in numbers whenever Barcelona is awarded a set-piece in and around the penalty area.
Celta was no exception on Saturday when Barca won a free-kick for a foul on Arturo Vidal. The Galicians had all 10 outfield players behind the ball and two men on the goal line along with their goalkeeper:
Don’t think we’ve ever seen a goal like that. Celta so terrified of Messi’s freekick ability put TWO players inside the goal, so Messi just clips it to Suarez inside the 6 yard box to head home.
Great heads up play by the Barcelona duo. pic.twitter.com/yFn1y4kONZ
— EiF (@EiFSoccer) June 27, 2020
Yet it was still no problem for Messi. Instead of going for goal himself the Barcelona captain simply placed the ball on Suarez’s head for an easy header:
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) June 27, 2020
The goal was Suarez’s 12th in La Liga this season and his first since returning from knee surgery in January. Messi’s assist was his 16th of the current campaign.
Messi Loves Set-Pieces Against Celta
Barcelona were always likely to need a piece of genius to unlock a strong Celta defense. The hosts came into the game with an excellent recent record at the back. Oscar Garcia’s side had conceded just once in their last seven matches in the Spanish top flight
Yet they could not keep out Barcelona and could have conceded earlier. Defender Gerard Pique put a header onto the crossbar from a Messi corner in the opening minutes of the match.
Their resistance was finally broken on 20 minutes when Suarez headed home after combining with Messi yet again against Celta.
2 – Celta de Vigo are the opponent vs Lionel Messi has assisted Luis Suárez more than one time from set piece (two in all competitions): from penalty spot in 2016 & from free kick in 2020. Strategy pic.twitter.com/j4RK1Pa95e
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 27, 2020
Messi also caused Celta all sorts of problems in the previous fixture between the two clubs at the Camp Nou earlier in the season. The 33-year-old netted a penalty and two free-kicks in a 4-1 win for the defending champions.
Suarez Now Two Goals Away From Landmark
Suarez’s goal means he is now just two away from reaching a huge Barcelona landmark.
The Uruguayan is currently the fourth-highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history but just two away from matching László Kubala in third place on the list.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 27, 2020
The striker has previously spoken about his desire to beat Kubala’s record in an interview with Barca TV.
“I always say that records or landmarks come by themselves. You just need to focus on helping the team as best you can. The chance to move past a legend like Kubala is very welcome. It means you left your mark at a great club like Barca.”
The only players to score more goals for Barcelona than Kubala are Cesar Rodriguez and Messi.
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