NEWS
Saturday December 22 2018
Barcelona crowned La Liga's winter champions

Barcelona ended 2018 as winter champions in La Liga, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

See how the match unfolded at Camp Nou with our liveblog!

Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi struck before the break to settle the game with the second half still to play and let Barca defend their winter title as they moved six points clear of Sevilla.

Samuel Umtiti, Rafinha, Malcom and Sergi Roberto all remained sidelined so Ernesto Valverde made just one change to the Blaugrana side who thrashed Levante 5-0 a week ago as Nelson Semedo replaced the injured Thomas Vermaelen.

However, Celta were the only team who did not lose to the Barca in La Liga last season, while new boss Miguel Cardoso had rejuvenated them, leading the Galicians to two wins from their last three League games.

Nonetheless, the Catalans had scored a combined 13 goals in their three previous home meetings with the Vigo club, and they added to their tally in just the 10th minute through Dembele's rebounded finish.

Jordi Alba then split the Celta defence wide open on the stroke of half-time, whipping a through ball into the path of Messi, who slotted home with aplomb.

The second half was a dead rubber for most part, although Marc-Andre ter Stegen scrambled on to Brais Mendez's goal-bound flick in the midst of a melee and Suarez fired the wrong side of Ruben Blanco's far post from close range.

Barcelona 2-0 Celta Vigo

Dembele 10, Messi 45 

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets (Alena 86), Vidal (Arthur 63); Messi, Suarez, Dembele (Coutinho 68)

Celta Vigo: Ruben; Mallo, Costas, Araujo, Mazan; Brais, Okay (Lobotka 46), Jozabed; Boufal (Sisto 76), Maxi, Aspas (Beltran 52)

Referee: Prieto Iglesias

Football Italia website