Real Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao on Sunday morning, so Barcelona needed to win to keep themselves alive in the 2019-20 La Liga title race. Los Blaugranas did exactly that and secured a huge 4-1 win over Villarreal on Sunday evening. This result ended Villarreal’s near-perfect start since the Liga campaign restarted in mid-June.
An own goal from Pau Torres and strikes from Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati lifted Barca to a massive win. Gerard Moreno netted Villarreal’s lone goal in the first half.
Things started well for Barca since they needed just three minutes to put themselves on top. Jordi Alba marched up the left flank and crossed the ball into the box looking for Griezmann. However, Pau Torres got in the way trying to deflect the delivery, only to put the ball past Sergio Asenjo. Villarreal would respond quickly, though. Marc-Andre ter Stegen parried away a shot from Santi Cazorla, and Moreno evened things up with a shot from close range into the open.
Suarez and Griezmann pull Barca away for good
That would be everything Villarreal would do during the rest of the game, though. Barcelona recovered the lead thanks to Suarez just two minutes after an impressive curled shot from the edge of the box, and Griezmann made it 3-1 just before the break with a beautiful chipped shot over the goalkeeper. Los Blaugranas practically sealed the deal with the Frenchman’s beautiful strike.
Lionel Messi, who delivered two assists in the first half, made it 4-1 before his goal was ruled due to offside. The Argentine playmaker found the back of the net from close range after a cross from Sergi Roberto, but the strike was ruled out due to a previous offside in the sequence. Many protested, but the VAR proved to be right after several replays.
There was one more goal left in the tank, though. Ansu Fati, who came off the bench in the 72nd minute in place of Griezmann, made it 4-1 in the 86th minute. The youngster took advantage of a pass from Jordi Alba and placed the ball out of Asenjo’s reach with a well-placed shot after cutting inside.
Barcelona were not expected to dominate as much as they did, but managed to destroy Villarreal entirely despite playing on the road. They are now four points behind Los Merengues but, with only four matches left, it might be too late for them to mount a title challenge before the 2019-20 season ends.
Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Alberto Moreno; Chukwueze, Zambo Anguissa, Iborra (Bruno, min. 46), Santi Cazorla (Manu Trigueros, min. 56); Gerard Moreno (Moi Gomez, min. 46), Alcacer (Bacca, min. 36)
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Riqui Puig, min. 60), Pique (Araujo, min. 82), Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets (Braithwaite, min. 73), Vidal; Messi, Suarez (Rakitic, min. 60), Griezmann (Fati, min. 72)
Goals: Pau Torres (0-1, OG, min. 3), Gerard Moreno (1-1, min. 14), Suarez (1-2, min. 20), Griezmann (1-3, min. 45), Fati (1-4, min. 86)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Yellow Cards: Pau Torres (VILL)
Red Cards: None