De­fen­sive blun­ders cost­ing Barcelona

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

Barcelona for­ward Luis Suarez (right) takes a tum­ble on the field dur­ing the Span­ish league match against Celta de Vigo at the Balai­dos Sta­dium in Vigo on Sun­day. BARCELONA’S big­gest fear when Lionel Messi suf­fered a groin strain last month was how the team would cope in at­tack with­out the tal­is­manic for­ward.

But while scor­ing goals has not been a prob­lem for the La Liga cham­pi­ons who have found the net 11 times in the three games Messi has missed, de­fend­ing cer­tainly has been an is­sue.

Goal­keeper Marc-An­dre ter Ste­gen’s poor dis­play at Celta Vigo was largely re­spon­si­ble for Barca’s 4-3 loss.

“If I hadn’t made the mis­take, we could have won this game,” Ter Ste­gen told re­porters. “I’m sorry for the team, who fought re­ally hard.”

With his side trail­ing, 3-2, Ter Ste­gen re­ceived a back pass from Jordi Alba and waited be­fore at­tempt­ing to kick the ball back to his team­mate. Pablo Her­nan­dez of Celta was just two me­tres away, though, and raised his right leg to block the pass, the ball de­flect­ing into the goal to gift Celta a 4-2 lead.

“For me, it was the pass which seemed the right one,” Ter Ste­gen said. “It shouldn’t hap­pen. It’s worse for the team; I think we lost be­cause of it.

“It’s an er­ror. I can’t think all the time about what’s hap­pened. I have to con­tinue, keep my head up. We con­tinue on the same path, and so do I.”

As the Barca play­ers go into the in­ter­na­tional break, though, they will have to digest a poor de­fen­sive ef­fort over­all.

Celta scored their opener af­ter they in­ter­cepted an er­rant Ter Ste­gen pass that had been in­tended for Ser­gio Bus­quets and Pino Sisto fin­ished from close range. Jeremy Mathieu’s own goal then gave Celta a 3-1 lead.

Barcelona are fourth in the stand­ings, two points adrift of lead­ers Atletico Madrid, who are level on points with Real but ahead on goal difference.

Luis En­rique’s side play at home to De­portivo La Coruna on Oct. 15 be­fore host­ing their for­mer coach Pep Guardi­ola and Manch­ester City four days later in the Cham­pi­ons League. – Reuters

– AFPPIX

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