FC Barcelona are still fighting for the La Liga title with their latest win against Villareal on Sunday, the hosts lost 4-1 in a very convincing performance from Barcelona in round 34. Barcelona are now 4 points behind Real Madrid who are flying high and have a game in hand.
The hosts got unlucky with Pau Torres scoring an own goal through a corner giving the blaugrana the lead, but they managed to equalize in the 14th minute when Santi Cazorla assisted Gerrad Moreno who smashed the ball at the back of the net. Luis Suarez scored with an assist from Leo Messi and the GOAT assisted another for the struggling Antonie Greizmann making it 3 for Barcelona just before half-time. Lionel Messi scored in the 69th minute but it was ruled out because Arturo Vidal was off-side. Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite came in the 74th minute and the 17-year-old wonderkid scored a rather cheeky goal in the 87th minute making it 4-1. Braithwaite missed a very clear chance through a pass from the captain, and another one that was saved from the rebound of Messi’s free-kick.
The Blaugrana dominated the game with 68% possession, and 18 (12) shots on goal, and also committed 11 fouls without any bookings. Assistant coach Eder Sarabia got a yellow card for arguing on the sidelines. Barcelona started with Roberto, Bousquets and Vidal in the midfield and Riqui Puig came in the second half and added a little pace in the midfield along with Ansu Fati. In the 17 minutes played, Puig had 95% pass accuracy, 1 dribble, 3 duels won, and 1 key pass.
The two La Masia graduates linked up in the attack giving the away side more fire power. Barca had many chances but the Villareal goalkeeper even after conceding 4 goals made some great saves. Ronald Araujo came in for Gerrad Pique in the last few minutes of the game, appearing for the 3rd time in first team football. Messi reached a record 18 assists in a single season after his own record in the 2010-11 and 2014-15 season. There are still a few games to go giving the captain the opportunity to break his own record.
Gerrad Pique’s post match comments “The three points are important to continue fighting for La Liga. This game was very important for us. Now it’s up to us to continue like this until the end of the season,” he said. It was important for Griezmann to score that goal, it’s important for his confidence. We don’t like being behind in the standings and we will fight to turn the situation around, even though it’s complicated.”
Quique Setien’s post match comments “He has associated himself very well and has been gaining confidence,” the Barcelona head coach said, (via AS). I am very satisfied as I suppose he will be after the goal so beautiful that he has scored, reminded me of one of [Lionel] Messi’s at [Real] Betis.”
Real Madrid face Alaves in their next match and are getting closer to winning the La Liga title and would have to drop points in order for Barcelona to get ahead in the title race. The Blaugrana face city rivals Espanyol in their next match in La Liga.
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