Dembele returns for Barcelona in 1-1 draw at Celta
Published: 04:09 PM, 5 January 2018
Ousmane Dembele made his return in Barcelona from a long injury layoff as a second-half substitute and Barcelona scored 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
France forward suffered a thigh tendon in his left leg on September 16 and made his third appearance with the team after his transfer which set a record for the Spanish club.
His maneuver from Borussia Dortmund in the summer which is cost nearly 150 million euros ($180 million) for Barcelona that seeks to fill the void in its attack left by Neymar after his exit to Paris Saint-Germain.
Dembele went on in the 72nd minute of the round-of-16 match for reserve team striker Jose Arnaiz, who opened the scoring. Dembele endorsed as Barcelona`s center forward but afforded little more than a shot which is saved by Celta`s goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez in the 78th minute.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said that he wanted Dembele to play in a position with the fewest number of defensive obligations because the match was intense and so he could ease his way back. He also said that he was happy with the squad and his players have responded well.
Valverde fielded 11 few regular first-choice players and allowed Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Andres Iniesta to have extra rest while tacked onto the end of the short winter break.
In the 15th minute, Arnaiz struck for Barcelona when he drilled in a low cross from Andre Gomes who started the counterattack by recovering possession. It was Arnaiz`s third goal in three cup matches this season for Barcelona.
But in the 31st minute forward Pione Sisto leveled the score for Celta Vigo that appeared to finish in a shot by Iago Aspas that hit the post. But the ball ricocheted off the woodwork and the leg of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen before falling to Sisto, who fired it over the goalkeeper from a tight angle.
Denis Suarez missed a great chance for Barcelona in the 58th minute when Nelson Semedo found him arriving all alone at the far post, and Sergio Busquets hit the crossbar with a shot from distance moments later.
Barcelona`s unbeaten streak reached 26 straight matches.
Last month Celta also held a 2-2 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Spanish league. The second match will be played in Barcelona next week.
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