Barcelona have kept the pressure on Atletico Madrid as expected, posting a win away to Celta Vigo on Tuesday. The hosts -- coached by former Barcelona B boss Luis Enrique -- put up an excellent fight in the first half, but didn't have the quality to hang with the Blaugrana in the second period. Cesc Fabregas turned a 1-0 lead into a 3-0 lead quickly after the break and Barcelona went on to win by that score.
Alexis Sanchez scored the opener in the 9th minute, with Fabregas having a hand in that one as well. He created a turnover in midfield, then went on to force Yoel Rodriguez Oterino into a save. He parried Fabregas' low effort to the worst possible place -- the center of the box. Sanchez was waiting and finished calmly.
Celta played very well from then until the break, matching Barcelona for possession and creating some solid chances, but they weren't able to get back into the match. Barca loanee Rafinha had a pair of shots during Celta's best spell, around the half-hour mark, and Charles forced a save out of Victor Valdes on a good opportunity as well. The first half also featured a forced substitution due to injury, with Adriano coming out in the 31st minute for Martin Montoya.
Fabregas' first goal came just three minutes into the second half, though it might ultimately be credited as an own goal. He picked up a beautiful pass from Lionel Messi 25 yards from goal and ripped a shot that hit the crossbar. It looked like it might have hit off Oterino before going into the back of the net, but it was a brilliant strike nonetheless.
Messi set up Fabregas again just six minutes later to seal the result. On a fast counter, Messi led Fabregas perfectly, and he finished from 15 yards out on the left side of the box. The rest of the match was an entertaining back-and-forth with plenty of shots for both teams, but ultimately, no more goals.
Celta Vigo: Oterino, Mallo, Fontas, Aurtenetxe (Toño 56'), Cabral, Melendez, Lopez, Rafinha, Nolito (Orellana 69'), Charles, Fernandez (Mina 59')
Barcelona: Valdes, Puyol, Bartra, Adriano (Montoya 31'), Alves, Busquets, Song, Fabregas (Iniesta 70'), Pedro, Messi, Sanchez (Tello 83')
Goals: Sanchez (9'), Fabregas (48', 54')