Valverde: I was right to make changes v Celta


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.

Messi came on in the 60th minute for Coutinho and by the 64th, Barca were ahead.

Ernesto Valverde defended his decision to rotate the team against Celta Vigo, where Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw and had Sergi Roberto sent off.

Spain global 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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Among the other regular starters who didn't play on Tuesday were Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Luis Suarez.

Celta's Iago Aspas celebrates after scoring their second in the 2-2 draw against Barcelona at the Balaidos Stadium.

And Valverde believes such a lengthy run without defeat - which includes 33 games of this season and the final seven fixtures of 2016-17 - means they should be pleased with themselves.

The Barca starting 11 failed to contain one single player emerging from the Barca youth system, but the Catalans took the lead after 36 minutes when Ousmane Dembele scored a left foot shot from a pass by Paco Alcacer.

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Vigo pushed for a late victor and should have had it when substitute Lucas Boye went through one-on-one but he took too long and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a crucial stop.

But Celta took control after Roberto was sent off in the 71st with a straight red card for pulling Aspas from behind to prevent a one-on-one situation for the hosts. Celta stayed ninth in the standings with the result.

Sevilla also play on Tuesday and travel to Deportivo la Coruna, whose survival chances got a boost with a 3-2 win in Bilbao on Saturday.

The Catalan giants will be in action again this weekend, when they face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final.

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