Barcelona maintained their hold on second place in La Liga on Tuesday, beating Celta Vigo 3-1 at home. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice.
However, Barcelona’s triumph was overshadowed by defender Ronald Araujo’s head injury, which required him to be rushed away in an ambulance in the 64th minute of the game.
Araujo was stretchered into the ambulance while wearing a neck brace. Barcelona said that the 23-year-old “suffered a concussion and was brought to the hospital for further examination.”
“The doctor has informed us he is conscious,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez stated after the game. He’ll spend the night in the hospital, but he’s not in any danger.
“The doctor said not to worry; he’ll spend the night in the hospital as a precaution, nothing more.”
[MEDICAL NEWS]— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 11, 2022
Complementary tests on first-team player Ronald Araujo have been successful and he has been discharged from the hospital. The evolution will mark his availability. pic.twitter.com/ocSooh5OfR
Araujo’s injury occurred after he and Gavi collided while competing for the same ball. Araujo staggered for a few seconds before collapsing to the ground as a worried Iago Aspas and Eric Garcia yelled for help.
After being placed in the recovery position for a few minutes, the Uruguayan was carried into an ambulance that had driven onto the field.
Memphis Depay had opened the scoring at Camp Nou before Aubameyang’s double either side of halftime. Celta equalized via Aspas, but any dreams of a comeback were crushed when Jeison Murillo was dismissed shortly before the hour.
“We were efficient, but we didn’t play well,” Xavi observed. “It was easier versus ten guys, but we battled against eleven.”
Barcelona now leads Sevilla by seven points and Atletico Madrid by eight, with the two teams meeting at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.
Real Madrid, who have already been crowned champions, lead Xavi Hernandez’s team by nine points, with a game in hand.
Last weekend’s qualifying for next season’s Champions League means Xavi’s major goal has already been met, but the club’s precarious financial circumstances means the players cannot afford to relax.
Every position at the top of La Liga is worth around seven million euros, while qualifying for the four-team Spanish Super Cup by finishing in the top two is worth an additional eight million euros to the Catalans.
Aubameyang, the electric
They should have clinched the runners-up place following another convincing win, thanks in large part to Aubameyang, who scored his 12th and 13th goals since joining Barcelona from Arsenal in January.
Aubameyang’s electrifying early form has cooled somewhat in recent weeks, but it’s difficult to think of a Barcelona player who has contributed more to the club’s recovery in the second half of the season.
Depay’s playing time has been reduced due to Aubameyang’s success, but they both started against Celta, and it was Depay who gave the hosts the lead in the 30th minute, sweeping in following a wonderful move down the right by Ousmane Dembele.
Depay then provided Aubameyang with his first goal, latching onto Jordi Alba’s through play and crossing for his Gabonese partner to score on the turn four minutes before halftime.
Three minutes after the restart, Dembele duplicated his previous move, driving down the right, sliding left, and steering into the corner for the running Aubameyang.
Aspas took advantage of a Barcelona mistake when Araujo was caught on his heels after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen passed to him in the penalty area. But, eight minutes later, Murillo was sent off for obstructing Depay’s passage, and Celta’s impetus was gone.
Real Betis had previously kept their top-four aspirations alive by defeating Valencia 3-0. In the second half, Willian Jose, Sergio Canales, and Borja Iglesias all scored.
Betis has cut the distance on fourth-placed Atletico Madrid to three points, with Atletico playing a game in hand away at Elche on Wednesday.