Spanish Copa del Rey - 1st Leg
Barcelona3Villarreal1

Barcelona 3-1 Villarreal

Lionel Messi scores
Lionel Messi has scored 34 goals for Barcelona this season

Barcelona recorded their 10th victory in a row by beating Villarreal in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

The hosts dominated the first half but did not lead until the 41st minute when Luis Suarez set up Lionel Messi to sweep home from 16 yards out.

Manu Trigueros levelled soon after the break but Andres Iniesta restored Barca's lead.

Gerard Pique added a header but Neymar had a penalty saved that would have put Luis Enrique's side three goals clear.

The second leg is on Wednesday, 4 March, with Barcelona's city rivals Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao the other teams still in the competition.

Neymar has a penalty saved
Neymar had a penalty saved when he could have made it 4-1 in the two-legged tie

Barcelona looked in crisis in early January when they were defeated by David Moyes's Real Sociedad. Several directors also quit the club, presidential elections were called and a transfer embargo was enforced.

There were also rumours of a row between Messi and boss Enrique. However, Barca have won every game since then.

Villarreal came into the game in good form too - their only defeat in the last 20 matches coming against Barca in the league earlier this month.

But Barca were dominant from the start with Suarez missing several half-chances before setting up Messi to score his 34th goal of the season.

Moments later, Messi played Suarez in but the Uruguayan dragged his shot wide.

Villarreal almost levelled with their first shot, in first-half injury time, as Luciano Vietto found the bottom left corner from Denis Cheryshev's cross but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen got down well to touch it around the post.

They equalised in the 48th minute when Ter Stegen let Trigueros's shot from outside the box through his hands.

But the scores were level for only seconds as Iniesta fired home from inside the box after an attempted pass to Suarez bounced back to the midfielder.

Pique put Barcelona in control when he headed home a corner from close range but Neymar squandered a chance when his spot-kick was saved by Sergio Asenjo.

Andres Iniesta scores
Andres Iniesta scored after an attempted pass to Luis Suarez was intercepted
Villarreal players
Villarreal's two defeats in their last 21 games have both been to Barcelona

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 22Dani Alves
  • 3Piqué
  • 24Mathieu
  • 18Alba
  • 12RafinhaSubstituted forRakiticat 68'minutes
  • 14Mascherano
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9L SuárezBooked at 86mins
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 6Xavi
  • 7Pedro
  • 15Bartra
  • 21Adriano
  • 25Masip

Villarreal

  • 1Asenjo
  • 2Perez Martinez
  • 5MusacchioBooked at 70mins
  • 15RuizBooked at 70mins
  • 18Costa Jordá
  • 6dos SantosSubstituted forRukavinaat 50'minutes
  • 4PinaBooked at 66mins
  • 21BrunoSubstituted forTrigueros Muñozat 33'minutes
  • 17CheryshevSubstituted forGómez Bardonadoat 73'minutes
  • 7Vietto
  • 9dos Santos

Substitutes

  • 10Campbell
  • 14Trigueros Muñoz
  • 16Dorado Ramírez
  • 19Gómez Bardonado
  • 22Rukavina
  • 23Moreno Balagueró
  • 25Sánchez Martínez
Referee:
Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
Attendance:
57,000

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamVillarreal
Possession
Home72%
Away28%
Shots
Home17
Away4
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home13
Away3
Fouls
Home4
Away12

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