Barca breeze past Celta to close in on a spot at the Super Cup

Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona celebrates 1-1 with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between Real Betis Sevilla v FC Barcelona at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on May 7, 2022 in Sevilla Spain.

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace earned Barcelona a 3-1 home win against Celta Vigo on Tuesday, putting Xavi Hernandez’s side on course to secure a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia with a second-place finish in LaLiga.

With two games left and Real Madrid already crowned champions, Barcelona are second on 72 points. They are seven points clear of third-placed Sevilla, who have one game in hand and will host relegation-threatened Mallorca on Wednesday. Memphis Depay opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a first-touch strike following a brilliant individual effort by Ousmane Dembele on the right wing.

Aubameyang extended Barca’s lead 10 minutes later with a close-range strike from a rebound and scored again four minutes after the break, following more fine play by Dembele. Iago Aspas scored Celta’s consolation goal one minute later, after Marc-Andre ter Stegen mishandled a pass inside his own box and gifted the ball to Aspas, who had an empty net at his disposal. Celta ended up playing more than half an hour with 10 men after substitute Jeison Murillo received a straight red card for a desperate last-man foul on Depay on the edge of the area.

A few minutes later, Barca had a real scare as the game was interrupted so defender Ronald Araujo could receive medical attention after suffering a head injury in a collision with team mate Gavi. He appeared unconscious as he laid on the ground and an ambulance entered the pitch to remove the player who was immobilised on a stretcher. “Ronald Araujo has suffered a concussion and has been taken to the hospital to undergo further testing,” Barcelona said in a short statement.

Xavi said later that doctors had given the player the all-clear. “We were really worried that something awful could have happened, but I understand he was conscious and OK and he’s been taken to hospital as a precaution,” he told reporters. “So he is conscious and aware, so there are no problems. Hopefully he’ll be back at home tomorrow as long as everything goes well.”

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