Seconds from glory (4-4)
Seconds from glory (4-4)

Villarreal draw against the league leaders after a spectacular game

Villarreal drew against LaLiga leader Barça in an exciting game. Beforehand, it would have felt like a good result for the Yellows, but after the game, it feels harsh. Javi Calleja’s team were able to turn around a 0-2 score to make it 4-2, before the Culés drew level in the last moments. Blooming added time.

The clash had a frenetic rhythm from the referee’s first whistle. The Yellow Submarine could have got ahead on the scoreboard twice, but both times Marc André Ter Stegen denied them. First he stopped a great header from Vicente Iborra from a corner, before the German keeper stepped up once again to palm away a Samu Chukwueze shot. The Nigerian went one-on-one with him after stealing the ball.

The Yellows failed to make the most of their early chances, but Barcelona did not. Philippe Coutinho made it 0-1 after a Malcom pass (m.11), before the Brazilian himself made it 0-2 minutes later (m.15).

Villarreal reacted through Chukwueze. The Submarine’s No.30 received a fantastic pass from Santi Cazorla and shot against the woodwork, before getting the rebound and scoring with his second attempt (m.22).

Calleja’s team used the strikers’ pace to generate danger for the Culé backline. In fact, Chukwueze could have drawn the Yellows level with another effort, from a tight angle, which Ter Stegen repelled once more.

The start of the second half was a dream. Villarreal drew level thanks to Karl Toko Ekambi. The Yellows No.17 received a long ball from Chukwueze, which stayed on the touchline by centimetres, before getting into the box and when everyone expected a cross for Iborra, he shot to the near post, surprising Ter Stegen. Genius (2-2, m.49).

Villarreal were capable of coming back after trailing 0-2 against the league leaders, but wanted more. They had a reward for their bravery when Iborra made it 3-2. The Valencian midfielder received a stratospheric pass from Morlanes and with a subtle touch flicked it past the oncoming Barça keeper. The Estadio de la Cerámica was full of joy. The Submarine used the counter-attack for the rest of the match. That was how they saw the chance to extend their lead. Chukwueze fired against the bar moments after.

The goal to make it 4-2 was still to come. Carlos Bacca galloped forward cheered on by the thousands of fans who filled the Estadio de la Cerámica to find himself one-on-one with Ter Stegen. He took it round him and fired into the empty net (4-2, m.79). The noise was immense.

Villarreal were left with a player less in the 85th minute. Álvaro González saw a second yellow for a tackle on Luis Suárez, with Calleja moving things around, bringing on Daniele Bonera for Chukwueze.

But it wasn’t over. Lionel Messi cut the lead with a spectacular free-kick which entered just in the corner of post and bar in the 90th minute (4-3). Barça drew level with the last kick of the game. Suárez fired a great shot from the edge of the area which Sergio Asenjo could do nothing about (4-4). At the end of the match, a draw against the leader which feels harsh after the good Villarreal performance.


Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Álvaro, Funes Mori, Víctor Ruiz; Mario, Morlanes (Cáseres, m. 62), Iborra, Cazorla, Pedraza; Chukwueze (Bonera, m. 86), Toko Ekambi (Bacca, m. 72).

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Arturo Vidal, Sergio (Rakitic, m. 72), Arthur (Aleñá, m. 72); Malcom, Luis Suárez, Coutinho (Messi, m. 60).

Goals: 0-1. Min. 11: Coutinho. 0-2. Min. 15: Malcom. 1-2. Min. 22: Chukwueze. 2-2. Min. 49: Toko Ekambi. 3-2. Min. 61: Iborra. 4-2. Min. 79: Bacca. 4-3. Min. 90: Messi. 4-4. Min. 93: Luis Suárez.

Referee: Hernández Hernández. Booked: Funes Mori (Villarreal); Sergio, Lenglet, Arturo Vidal, Aleñá, Messi, Sergi Roberto (Barcelona). Sent off: Álvaro (Villarreal, m. 85).

Matchday information: LaLiga Matchday 30 at the Estadio de la Cerámica in front of 19,515 spectators.