Spanish La Liga
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Barcelona battle back for 4-4 draw at Villarreal

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi came off the bench to score his sixth La Liga free-kick of the season

La Liga leaders Barcelona scored two late goals to draw 4-4 with Villarreal in a remarkable game.

The champions led 2-0 through Philippe Coutinho and Malcom.

But Villarreal then led 4-2 with Samuel Chukwueze, Karl Toko Ekambi, Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca scoring.

The struggling hosts had Alvaro Gonzalez sent off and Barca took advantage with substitute Lionel Messi's 90th-minute free-kick and Luis Suarez's injury-time equaliser.

Barca are eight points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid going into Saturday's meeting at the Nou Camp.

Act I: Barcelona in control

Barca named Messi, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic on the bench before games against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United - and it looked a wise decision as they raced into an early lead.

Suarez had two efforts saved - including one from the halfway line - by the time they took the lead.

Malcom, making only his second La Liga start, unselfishly squared the ball for Coutinho to tap home a close-range opener. And the summer signing from Bordeaux doubled the score four minutes later with a header from Arturo Vidal's cross.

At that stage it looked as if they were going to blow Villarreal away with Coutinho hitting the post when he clipped the ball over Sergio Asenjo. The Brazilian then had an effort saved by the goalkeeper from 25 yards out.

Act II: Villarreal mount unbelievable comeback

Villarreal started the day only one point above the relegation zone but looked like world beaters from the moment Nigerian teenager Samuel Chukwueze ran on to a long ball forward and hit the post before slamming the rebound home.

The Catalans could not cope with the pace of Chukwueze and Ekambi throughout and that combination brought their second-half equaliser.

Ekambi did well to keep Chukwueze's ball in play down the right wing. And with keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen off his line expecting a cross, the Cameroon international somehow beat him at his near post from an almost impossible angle near the byeline.

The Estadio de la Ceramica was rocking at this point and got even louder when Iborra put them into a scarcely believable lead.

The former Leicester City man ran on to a through-ball from Manuel Morlanes before poking the ball past the onrushing Ter Stegen.

They pushed and pushed for more goals and Chukwueze was unlucky not to get his second when his deflected effort from near the edge of the box was tipped on to the bar by Barca's German keeper.

Goal number four came when Santi Cazorla, who was majestic in midfield, played a brilliant pass from his own half to substitute Bacca, who held his nerve to go round Ter Stegen and shoot past Samuel Umtiti on the line.

At that stage Barcelona were shaken and with Messi booked for dissent, their sixth yellow card of the game, a frustrating game seemed to be coming to an end.

Act III: Red card gives Barca lifeline

Everything changed when Villarreal defender Gonzalez was shown a second yellow card for a petulant foul on Suarez from behind.

They had to make a change in a bid to shore things up, with veteran Italian defender Daniele Bonera coming on for Chukwueze. The 37-year-old would not touch the ball in his six minutes on the pitch.

Victor Ruiz will rue his decision to foul Messi on the edge of the box as the Argentine stepped up to curl home a free-kick off the inside of the far post with 12 seconds of normal time remaining.

The Catalans went all out for an equaliser which came with the final kick of the game. A corner was half-cleared to Suarez, who hit a wonderful 20-yard effort on the bounce that flew past Asenjo and broke Yellow Submarine hearts.

Line-ups

Villarreal

  • 1Asenjo
  • 3GonzálezBooked at 86mins
  • 4Funes MoriBooked at 45mins
  • 6Ruiz
  • 2Gaspar
  • 28MorlanesSubstituted forCáseresat 63'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 19Cazorla
  • 16Pedraza
  • 30ChukwuezeSubstituted forBoneraat 87'minutes
  • 10Iborra
  • 17Toko EkambiSubstituted forBaccaat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Cáseres
  • 9Bacca
  • 13Fernández
  • 22Rabaseda Antolín
  • 23Bonera
  • 37Martín
  • 39Quintillá

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 20RobertoBooked at 85mins
  • 23Umtiti
  • 15LengletBooked at 42mins
  • 18Alba
  • 22VidalBooked at 77mins
  • 5BusquetsBooked at 39minsSubstituted forRakiticat 73'minutes
  • 8ArthurSubstituted forAleñáat 73'minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 14Malcom
  • 9SuárezBooked at 90mins
  • 7CoutinhoSubstituted forMessiat 61'minutesBooked at 84mins

Substitutes

  • 2Nélson Semedo
  • 3Piqué
  • 4Rakitic
  • 10Messi
  • 19Boateng
  • 21Aleñá
  • 30Peña
Referee:
Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
Attendance:
19,515

Match Stats

Home TeamVillarrealAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home32%
Away68%
Shots
Home16
Away15
Shots on Target
Home9
Away9
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Villarreal 4, Barcelona 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Villarreal 4, Barcelona 4.

Goal!

Goal! Villarreal 4, Barcelona 4. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner following a corner.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Mario Gaspar.

Attempt saved. Jordi Alba (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez with a through ball.

Booking

Santiago Cáseres (Villarreal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

Booking

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

Goal!

Goal! Villarreal 4, Barcelona 3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the top left corner.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Víctor Ruiz (Villarreal).

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Daniele Bonera replaces Samuel Chukwueze.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Álvaro González (Villarreal) for a bad foul.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Álvaro González (Villarreal).

Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Vicente Iborra (Villarreal).

Booking

Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

Sergi Roberto (Barcelona).

(Villarreal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Carles Aleñá (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Carles Aleñá (Barcelona).

Vicente Iborra (Villarreal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Villarreal 4, Barcelona 2. Carlos Bacca (Villarreal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Santi Cazorla with a through ball following a fast break.

Carles Aleñá (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alfonso Pedraza (Villarreal).

Offside, Barcelona. Jordi Alba tries a through ball, but Malcom is caught offside.

Booking

Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).

Santiago Cáseres (Villarreal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Malcom (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt blocked. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Malcom.

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Carlos Bacca replaces Karl Toko Ekambi because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic replaces Sergio Busquets.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Carles Aleñá replaces Arthur.

Attempt saved. Karl Toko Ekambi (Villarreal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Santi Cazorla.

Offside, Barcelona. Sergio Busquets tries a through ball, but Malcom is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Álvaro González (Villarreal) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Santi Cazorla with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Villarreal. Conceded by Marc-André ter Stegen.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona30217279314870
2Atl Madrid30188445192662
3Real Madrid29183852341857
4Getafe301211737271047
5Alavés2912893135-444
6Valencia2991643123843
7Sevilla291271047371043
8Ath Bilbao2991373032-240
9Real Betis29117113337-440
10Real Sociedad29910103434037
11Eibar2981293840-236
12Leganés2999112934-536
13Espanyol3098133344-1135
14Girona30810123241-934
15Levante2988134051-1132
16Real Valladolid2979132440-1630
17Villarreal30612123843-530
18Celta Vigo2977153949-1028
19Rayo Vallecano2966173152-2124
20Huesca2957173050-2022
View full Spanish La Liga table

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