Ter Stegen blunder costs Barca top spot in La Liga

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, seen here against Atletico Madrid last month, has vowed not to change his playing style.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, seen here against Atletico Madrid last month, has vowed not to change his playing style.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BARCELONA • Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insisted he will not change his flamboyant style despite a huge error costing his side, as they slumped to a 4-3 defeat by Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Three Celta goals in 11 first-half minutes from Pione Sisto, Iago Aspas and Jeremy Mathieu (own goal) had Barca on the ropes, before a second-half revival saw Gerard Pique and a Neymar penalty haul the visitors back into the game.

However, ter Stegen then chipped the ball onto the head of Pablo Hernandez for Celta's fourth goal, ending hopes of a heroic Barca comeback even though Pique headed home their third goal late on.

"If I don't make that mistake, we had a good chance to win the game," said ter Stegen. "It is a mistake that I cannot make. It's my fault, but, although it's happened, I won't entirely change the way I play."

Ter Stegen set a La Liga record for passes completed - 51 - by a goalkeeper earlier this season at Athletic Bilbao, and Pique defended the 24-year-old's ability to set up Barca's attack from the back.

"We know Marc is very good with his feet. He gives us a lot and many good moves begin thanks to him," said Pique, who nearly capped a sensational hat-trick when he headed wide in stoppage time. "We all make mistakes and, knowing him, it won't affect him."

Defeat means Barca missed the chance to top La Liga, as Real Madrid were held for a fourth straight game after a 1-1 draw with Eibar.

Fran Rico stunned the Santiago Bernabeu by heading Eibar into the lead in the sixth minute, scoring the side's first goal against Real in the league.

Gareth Bale levelled soon after, but without the injured Luka Modric, Real lacked the creative spark to break down the visitors after the break.

"We are not in crisis, we're only in October. What we need to do is improve, we can't lose our minds over this," coach Zinedine Zidane said.

"I'm not going to go crazy and neither are my players. All I can see is that we need to work harder and be more intense at the start of games."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Ter Stegen blunder costs Barca top spot in La Liga'. Print Edition | Subscribe