Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday (Nov 6) in a chaotic game which underlined the scale of the task facing incoming coach Xavi Hernandez.
Celta captain Iago Aspas completed a remarkable second-half comeback from the hosts by scoring in the fifth minute of added time after he had pulled their first goal back in the 52nd and Nolito had struck in the 74th to set up a tense finish.
Teenage forward Ansu Fati had given Barca the lead in the fifth minute and captain Sergio Busquets extended their advantage with a low strike from outside the area in the 18th before Memphis Depay added a third in the 34th.
But Barca experienced a huge drop off in performance in the second half and Celta’s stunning comeback extended the Catalans’ winless streak to four league games.
Barca are ninth in the standings with 17 points after 12 games while Celta are 14th on 12.
The Catalans began the day by finally confirming that midfield great Xavi would succeed the sacked Ronald Koeman as coach next week, announcing the appointment at 1:45AM local time.
Caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan named an identical starting 11 to the team that had won 1-0 at Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League thanks to a strike from Fati and the 19-year-old got his side off to an ideal start by curling into the far corner.
Barca grew in confidence and began to play the type of flowing football they were renowned for in the days when Xavi ruled their midfield.
Their third goal was the pick of the bunch, a sweeping move which began with a goal kick and ended with Dutch forward Depay glancing in a Jordi Alba cross into the net.
A near-perfect first half for the Catalans was soured by an injury to Fati and they were overpowered by Celta in the second period.
Celta’s Thiago Galhardo had a goal ruled out soon after the restart and Aspas pulled them back into contention by pouncing when Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen spilled a cross into his path.
Nolito then had a goal disallowed for a handball but quickly made amends by scoring with a diving header, helped by some passive defending from Barca.
The Catalans looked like they were begging for the final whistle for the remaining minutes as Celta continued to pour forward and after they had missed several chances to score Aspas landed the equaliser with a sumptuous first-time finish from the edge of the area.