Barça cruise past Celta
Lionel Messi could not get a goal to mark the birth of his first son but Barcelona took the points in a straightforward 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo.
Three goals in the space of five minutes sparked the first half into life after the 20-minute mark as Adriano and David Villa scored either side of Mario Bermejo's strike. Jordi Alba wrapped up the win just after the hour mark.
There was doubt as to whether Messi would play after the birth of Thiago on Friday, but he was there to inspire his side during early one-way traffic. Cesc Fabregas had the first crack at goal in the second minute but sent his shot over, and Andres Iniesta then did likewise. Iago Aspas fired wide for the visitors but Victor Valdes was hardly troubled in the Barça goal.
Messi then went close twice in quick succession, his first effort from close range held by Javi Varas before the goalkeeper pushed another one away from danger moments later.
Aspas brought a save out of Valdes in the 19th minute but Barça soon took the lead. The breakthrough came when Pedro crossed from the right for Adriano to slot home.
Celta's reply was immediate, with Valdes unable to hold Fernandez Augusto's shot and Bermejo sweeping home the rebound. But just as quickly as Celta equalised, Barça retook the lead, with Iniesta's pass finding Villa for the finish.
Goalscorer Adriano then limped off injured to be replaced by Dani Alves, and after the flurry of activity, both teams held station until the break. Fabregas was replaced by Marc Bartra at half-time as Barça made their second change, but they were slow to get back into rhythm.
Aspas sent a free-kick straight at Valdes in the 56th minute but it was not until the hour mark that Barça launched a meaningful attack. Crucially, however, they scored. Villa turned provider to play the ball through for Alba to score from close range.
Barça seemed content at that, and other than a Pedro shot that flashed wide from the edge of the area, they rarely threatened to score again. Roberto Lago fired over for Celta with ten minutes left, but Barça saw the game out in comfort.
"To have 28 from a possible 30 points is not easy and shows the desire of the players. In every game we have kept going until the end," said Barça coach Tito Vilanova.