Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona: Lionel Messi sets up two in fine win

Barcelona kept alive their slim La Liga title hopes with an excellent victory at in-form Villarreal.

They took an early lead when Pau Torres turned in Jordi Alba’s cross but Gerard Moreno levelled for Villarreal.

Lionel Messi brilliantly won the ball in midfield before feeding Luis Suarez – who curled in from 20 yards – and the Barca captain then backheeled to Antoine Griezmann, who scored a magnificent chip.

Ansu Fati blasted in a late fourth.

Barca’s front three of Messi, Suarez and Griezmann clicked perfectly in one of their best performances in recent months.

Messi has now reached 19 La Liga assists this season, the most of any player since he reached that figure in 2010-11.

He was unlucky not to score as he had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside and hit the crossbar with a late free-kick.

Barca are four points behind Real Madrid with four games to go and need their old rivals to slip up at least twice to have a hope of retaining their title.

Villarreal had won five games and drawn the other since La Liga restarted following the coronavirus pandemic.

Line-ups

Villarreal

Substitutes

Barcelona

Substitutes

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Villarreal 1, Barcelona 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Villarreal 1, Barcelona 4.

Offside, Villarreal. Manu Trigueros tries a through ball, but Moi Gómez is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Manu Trigueros (Villarreal) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) left footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Villarreal. Conceded by Ronald Araújo.

Attempt missed. Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Riqui Puig following a corner.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Sergio Asenjo.

Attempt saved. Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

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

Foul by Raúl Albiol (Villarreal).

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sergi Roberto.

Attempt missed. Mario Gaspar (Villarreal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Manu Trigueros.

Goal!

Goal! Villarreal 1, Barcelona 4. Ansu Fati (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

Riqui Puig (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Villarreal).

Clément Lenglet (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fernando Niño (Villarreal).

Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Villarreal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ansu Fati (Barcelona).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Ronald Araújo replaces Gerard Piqué.

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Manu Trigueros (Villarreal).

Attempt saved. Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

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

Foul by Moi Gómez (Villarreal).

Attempt saved. Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by André-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Foul by Ansu Fati (Barcelona).

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

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Alberto Moreno.

Ansu Fati (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mario Gaspar (Villarreal).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Martin Braithwaite replaces Sergio Busquets.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Ansu Fati replaces Antoine Griezmann.

VAR Decision: No Goal Villarreal 1-3 Barcelona.

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Fernando Niño replaces Carlos Bacca.

GOAL OVERTURNED BY VAR: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) scores but the goal is ruled out after a VAR review.

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