Barcelona squandered a three-goal league lead against Celta Vigo on Saturday as the club’s disappointing form continued.
Goals from Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay gave Barcelona a 3-0 advantage at halftime, but Celta responded in the second half through Iago Aspas and Nolito, before Aspas’ equalizer in added time saw the match end 3-3.
Having sacked manager Ronald Koeman last month, Barcelona announced on Friday that Xavi, who played 767 times for the club between 1998 and 2015, would take over as head coach.
And with Barcelona ninth in La Liga after 12 games, the former midfielder will have his work cut out to try and salvage the season.
Fati opened the scoring at Balaidos on Saturday before Busquets doubled Barcelona’s lead with a strike from the edge of the box.
Depay’s header in the 34th minute put the visiting side in complete control in the first half, which was marred by a thigh injury to Fati just before the break.
But the game unraveled for Barcelona in the second half. Aspas started Celta’s comeback with a close-range shot and Nolito’s well-aimed header made it 3-2 with 17 minutes remaining.
Frenkie de Jong hit the crossbar as Barcelona looked to wrap up the game, but it was Celta that had the final say as Aspas’ curling, left-footed strike secured a dramatic draw in the 96th minute.
“I think in the second half we forgot to play, we were static, and we lacked personality, in my opinion,” de Jong told La Liga TV, adding that the players are excited for Xavi’s arrival.
Sergi Barjuan, Barcelona’s interim coach following Koeman’s sacking, said on social media after the game: “My gratitude to all the players and staff for all their efforts. These have been intense days. Now to continue working for the club.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid moved top of La Liga with a 2-1 win against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday thanks to goals from Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema.
Radamel Falcao’s header gave Rayo a chance of a comeback in the second half, but Real held on as Kroos cleared the ball off the line in stoppage time.