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Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off

Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off”

Ernesto Valverde's side needs just eight points to be confirmed as this season's La Liga champions if the second-placed Atletico Madrid don't drop any points in their remaining games.

It was the least the hosts deserved and they continued to look superior in the second half.

Lionel Messi was thrown on as a substitute but 10-man Barcelona were relieved to escape with a draw as Celta Vigo came within a whisker of inflicting the Catalans' first league defeat of the season on Tuesday.

Spain worldwide Paco Alcacer ensured that the visitors took the lead again in the second half but that was cancelled out by an 82nd-minute goal from former Liverpool attacker Iago Aspas.

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The Barcelona boss insists that league glory is the most important objective for his side but he would also like to finish the campaign unbeaten.

Valverde, though, offered no excuse for his team selection at Estadio Balaidos, telling Marca: "The other time we came here, in the Copa, we also made many changes".

With Valverde likely to stick to a 4-4-2, Sergio Busquets' absence is likely to thrust Sergi Roberto into the starting lineup in midfield while Paulinho comes in for the injured Ivan Rakitic.

Celta twice came from behind, with Iago Aspas scoring the equalizer in the 82nd minute after the ball apparently hit his hand before going in.

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Celta equalised through Jonny Castro right on the stroke of half time, but midway through the second half Valverde introduced Messi and Sergi Roberto and the effect was nearly immediate as Alcacer got a close range finish on an effort from Paulinho.

Ousmane Dembele fired Barca ahead with his first La Liga goal before defender Jonny Castro Otto equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen though, is likely to retain his place, as is Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti.

Clarence Seedorf's Deportivo was trying to win its third match in a row after a run of 15 winless games.

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