Xavi's challenge shown as Barca blow lead

Barcelona's Dutch forward Memphis Depay (L) vies with Celta Vigo's Colombian defender Jeison Murillo during the Spanish league football match between RC Celta de Vigo and FC Barcelona at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on November 6, 2021.


Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead to underline the issues faced by new coach Xavi as Iago Aspas' last-gasp strike secured a 3-3 draw for Celta Vigo.

Blaugrana legend Xavi was named as the new coach earlier on Saturday, but interim boss Sergi Barjuan remained in charge for the trip to Balaidos and Barca appeared to be cruising to victory after first-half goals from Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay.

Yet an injury to Fati on the cusp of half-time dented the visitors' confidence, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen's error gifted Aspas a goal to spur Celta on.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Ansu Fati (R) leaves the pitch during the Spanish league football match between RC Celta de Vigo and FC Barcelona at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on November 6, 2021.


Nolito headed home in the 74th minute to set up a grandstand finale and just as it seemed Barca had survived the onslaught, Aspas curled in with the last kick of the game.

Former coach Ronald Koeman was not to blame for all of Barca's problems, but his successor has got plenty of pieces to pick up. Barca will just hope Xavi's legendary status buys him the time required.

Barca were not helped by injuries, but the way they capitulated will be of great concern to Xavi. The Blaugrana are now without a win in four league matches, sitting ninth, eight points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

A home meeting with city rivals Espanyol will be Xavi's first game in charge of Barca after the international break. Espanyol beat Granada 2-0 earlier Saturday and are level on points with Barcelona.

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